Entertainment The Weeknd’s Coachella set: Heartbreak on stage and 5 more observations

01:31  15 april  2018
01:31  15 april  2018 Source:   Entertainment Weekly

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“If you at Coachella tonight then you gettin’ faded — I know because I am too.” It was halfway through The Weeknd’s headlining set at America’s premier desert fest, and the 28-year-old singer was taking quick stock of the scene in front of him: the 100,000-plus fans, the empty margarita cups, the neon-lit palm trees. At that point, the old Abel — the one of moody R&B, of late nights and drugged-out despair — was just beginning to rear his head.

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Few festival crowds fit the artist as well as Coachella’s, particularly on Friday, which initially looked like a scene from the Toronto-bred singer’s 2011 mixtape Thursday. Before the set, fans were splayed out on the field, burned out, smoking, or staring off into the distance (cue “Cause getting faded too long / Got me on this rolling stone / So I take another hit / Kill another serotonin”).

a man wearing a hat © Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Thankfully, the 90-minute performance wasn’t all doom-and-gloom. This was a career-spanning show, with The Weeknd hedging his earlier work with more dance-ready fare. Sometimes, it’s best to give the masses what they want. Ahead, a few of the evening’s highlights, lowlights, and random observations.

The neoclassical stage design

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The set was more dance-heavy than down-tempo

The Weeknd kicked things off with the energetic cross-genre cut “Pray for Me” off Black Panther: The Album (sans Kendrick Lamar, who made two mainstage cameos earlier in the evening with Vince Staples and fellow TDE–er SZA). From there, he transitioned into Daft Punk-produced “Starboy” (sans Daft Punk, obviously) and then into “Party Monster,” where he — speaking of on-the-nose — pantomimed having sex while singing the infamous “ass like Selena” line.

And as for Selena Gomez …

Though Abel’s most recent EP is essentially a postmortem for their relationship — though, for what it’s worth, The Weeknd has neither confirmed nor denied that — he waited until the very end of the evening to perform a few of its standout tracks (“Call Out My Name,” “Wasted Times”), despite its current chart domination (it’s now sitting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200). Maybe he wanted to stick with more high-energy songs because kicking off your first Coachella headlining set with slower work isn’t the best way to go — something Drake learned the hard way when he played the mainstage back in 2014 to middling reviews. Or maybe he just didn’t want to muddy his good vibes by having to think about a painful breakup.

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No, the Weeknd was not crying while performing “Call Out My Name”

That’s sweat, folks! At least I think it was? It probably was.

He gave a nod to his past

The Weeknd first performed at Coachella in 2012, before he became a bona fide pop star. To thank the fans who’ve been with him since the beginning, he played a range of early standout tracks, including “House of Balloons / Glass Table Girls” (with an extended drum solo from the always-amazing Ricky Lewis), “The Morning,” and “Wicked Games.”

A Hollywood ending

a man holding a phone © Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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