Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1082

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THE WEEKND: O2, LONDON 8/3/17

The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com
The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com The Weeknd: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Bryson Tiller: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Bryson Tiller: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com Bryson Tiller: O2, London 8/3/17 @bluesandsoul.com

Abel Tesfaye has come a long way since his first mixtape dropped six years ago.

As The Weeknd, the 27-year-old has become one of the most listen-to artists on the planet, his latest record, "Starboy", setting new records for Spotify streams and launching him into the stratosphere.

Testament to his appeal was the huge crowd at The O2 who went along to the second of his two nights at the London arena, unaware of a massive surprise coming their way.

Those who got there early enough were treated to a set by up-and-coming R’n’B star Bryson Tiller, one of the genre's most exciting prospects.

Tiller's "Trapsoul" album was one of the highlights of 2016, and his supporting performance was confident and assured. With new music on the horizon, he's definitely an artist worth keeping an eye on.

For the main act, an ambitious set had been put together, with a long runway stretching into the crowd and eliminating the need for fans to cram into the front to get near him.

Before he came onstage, an impressive 'spaceship' manoeuvred into position above the runway, accompanied by a futuristic light show which got the audience screaming.

When the man himself took to the stage, the decibel level from the crowd rose and did not relent through his lengthy set, during which he powered his way through more than 20 tracks.

"All I Know", "Party Monster" and "Reminder" set the tone, and The Weeknd looked at home filling up an arena.

With an impressive set and reams of material to call on, he kept his chatter to a minimum, thundering through slick tracks including "Acquainted", "Starboy" and "Wicked Games", from his ever-growing catalogue.

The Grammy winner, who has featured on last year's Kanye West and Beyonce album, certainly has an impressive contacts book, and the volume in the arena reached near-deafening levels when he pulled a huge surprise out the bag.

Unexpectedly, late in his set, a trapdoor opened on the runway and out emerged Drake, probably the best-selling rapper in the world right now.

The screams hit fever pitch during a performance of "Fake Love" and the headliner gallantly allowed his fellow Canadian to perform "Jumpman" and "Energy".

It was a tough act to come back from after Drake left the stage to loud screams, but The Weeknd ploughed on and kept the energy up in versions of "Tell Your Friends" and "Die For You".

Unsurprisingly, arguably his biggest hit "The Hills" was saved for the encore, and the venue was rocking as he brought the night to a successful close.

The Starboy may be on top of his game, but his popularity shows no sign of waning, so expect to see his popularity continue to rise.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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