Concert Reviews

The Weeknd's Sold-Out Dallas Concert Was a Visual Masterpiece

The Weeknd woke the crowd up on a Sunday night.
The Weeknd woke the crowd up on a Sunday night. Andrew Sherman
On Sunday night, fans packed AT&T Stadium in Arlington for The Weeknd’s sold-out North Texas stop on his After Hours Til Dawn tour.

The Canadian singer released his fourth studio album, After Hours, in March 2020. Two years later, to commemorate a new, postpandemic era, he dropped a fifth album, Dawn FM, where he muses on life, family and love.

Snoh Aalegra opened the show, taking the place of Doja Cat, who pulled out of the tour after telling fans she'd be undergoing tonsil surgery.
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Snoh Aalegra opened the show with Mike Dean.
Andrew Sherman
The Weeknd’s two-hour set kicked off with “Alone Again” and "Gasoline." Out came a procession of performers covered head to toe in flowy gauze-like burkas — evoking scenes from the dystopian book and series The Handmaid’s Tale — before the sound of “Sacrifice” filled the stadium.

We've come to know the artist as much for his record-breaking hits ("Blinding Lights" spent the most consecutive weeks on Billboard's Top 100) as for his aesthetic statements. Who can forget the time he appeared covered in bandages, later to "reveal" a face modified entirely by plastic surgery?

Unsurprisingly, Sunday night's show was heavy on visuals, using a troupe of 24 performers and pyrotechnics to take concertgoers on a stunning visual and lyrical journey.
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The Weeknd's show in Arlington was a visual feast.
Andrew Sherman
The Weeknd gave many rousing shoutouts to Dallas, saying the city has a "good voice." He performed one more Dawn FM song before jumping into the 2015 hit “Can’t Feel My Face.” The cityscape set that had stood behind him became engulfed in Voldemort-like smoke as he performed Kanye West’s “Hurricane.”

Four fire columns erupted from the runway portion of the two-set stage as “The Hills” led to a moshing response from the crowd. A burning red scene remained on display as the artist born as Abel Tesfaye performed “Often.” Drake’s “Crew Love” turned the hanging moon and cityscape sets into an ominous gold and yellow.

The Grammy-winning hit “Starboy” ended with a blackout that transformed the set into a Great Gatsby/ Emerald City of Oz, green display. “Heartless” prompted a sing-along that The Weeknd complimented as the kind of good singing "only Dallas could pull off."

Before the show, wristbands were handed out to attendees and they flashed on and off, creating a twinkling effect from the crowd.
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The Weekend brought the hits to Arlington.
Andrew Sherman

“Party Monster” brought back the pyro magic; “Die for You,” “Wicked Games” and “The Morning” took fans back to Abel’s earlier work before megahit "Save Your Tears" set the stage for his “Blinding Lights” finale.

The singer's praise for Dallas fans seemed sincere. Audience members threw flowers on stage and scream-sang his songs back to him. The Weeknd appeared visibly moved by the crowd's energy and paused between songs to thank fans for their loyalty, promising to add two dates in Dallas for his next tour.

After Hours Til Dawn is heading west to Denver, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and then Phoenix just this month. Opening performers include Kaytranada, Mike Dean, who also played first on Sunday, and Aalegra.

Sunday’s concert reminded us there’s nothing wrong with being “blinded by the lights." The Weekend is far more than the artist who dominated radio for the past decade, but a striking showman who offers substance in his commentary and commitment to art in an time that needs something or someone to make us stop strolling.
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The Weeknd praised Dallas fans on Sunday.
Andrew Sherman
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The Weeknd brought his megahits to Dallas.
Andrew Sherman
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