Abel Tesfaye is well aware of his celebrity. He knows that a packed house has been waiting all day to see him—early spot holders pressed up against the front barricade clutching their XO caps and jumbo cutouts of his face—and knows that they’re waiting to be entertained. More importantly, he knows that he can deliver. Basking in the thunderous cheers from thousands of fans, the crooner known as The Weeknd existed in his own orbit as he closed out day two of Coachella.
He took his place in front of the stage-length LED screen fashionably late, but got right to business with old fan favorites from 2011 mixtape House of Balloons (“High For This,” “The Morning”) to his “Crew Love” Drake feature to his 2013 album Kiss Land (“Belong to the World,” “Professional”).
As dizzying lights flashed all around him, The Weeknd flirted with the audience a bit (“Can I get sexy for you Coachella?”) before diving into newer material like his bit on Ty Dolla $ign’s dirty talking “Or Nah,” his radio hit “Often” and his Platinum-selling contribution to the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, “Earned It.”
To add to the diversity of his set list, Tesfaye went rogue on the unsuspecting crowd with a spacey, warbling cover of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” and by debuting an untitled song that some (incorrectly) refer to as “Mood Music.” No telling where this track fits in with the grand scheme of The Weeknd’s sweeping discography, but either way, the thick crowd was loving every bit of what Abel had to offer.
Photo Credit: Stacy-Ann Ellis