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The Weeknd performs live in Vancouver [Review]

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Vancouver BC – Seeing The Weeknd at The Orpheum wasn’t just a show; it was an experience. His fall headline tour kicked off Friday night at The Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver. The venue felt like it was made for his music. The chandeliers, high ceilings and carpeted staircases of the lobby all set the tone upon entering the theater.

The Weeknd in Vancouver

The opening acts included Ana Lunoe and BANKS. The latter featured a cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” which was flawless. The crowd were genuinely stoked for the openers and applauded with enthusiasm.

Following a short intermission we were greeted by the darkness again and a large, see-through projection screen descended from above the stage. The crowd went crazy as The Weeknd appeared in the dim light. He didn’t say a word an did not acknowledge the audience, he simply stood behind the screen, holding his mic stand as if he were dancing with a woman. When he began the first song, the screen received a projection of a man’s face lip syncing the words. The set proceeded in this fashion until the screen dropped suddenly like lingerie. The crowd went insane. He took this opportunity to introduce himself and interact with us. It felt borderline cocky that we were forced to wait, but the anticipation made it so powerful when he finally did speak.

Highlights from the set include memorable titles from his Trilogy album such as, “Glass Table Girls”, “The Party & The After Party” and an especially dramatic performance of “What You Need”. “The Morning” was the clear winner of the night, this song provoked Beatlemania-esque behavior from the females in the audience and the whole building sang along word for word.

The stage props and lighting were like no other. Three enormous TV screen were situated behind him and his band. These screens played all kinds of incredible visuals. Japanese symbols in every kind of candy color imaginable, Tokyo inspired metropolis lit up at night, Asian women in white linen sheets making out and undressing each other and so much more. Every song was accompanied by a different set of images on these screens as well as dream inducing lighting that fit perfectly with the tone of the music.

A camera was placed to the right of the stage to film The Weeknd. When he stood in front of it his image appeared on the giant TV screens. This was very intimate and was the first time the crowd was able to see his face and subtle expressions. What was also very cool was that the crowd could see themselves behind him on the screens giving the feeling of being personally serenaded.

Welcome to the West Coast. Did I mention the weed smoke? There was so much of it in the theater one might have thought they were at a Jamaican BBQ – so much that it even triggered the smoke alarm. Some people ran out in a panic but the brave survived and stayed for the rest of the show.

It felt like The Weeknd was making love to the crowd – his whole set was like sex. There was foreplay, suspense, teasing, low moments and climaxes. The man was so in control. He and the band were very rehearsed and coordinated, he would walk around on stage waving his arms almost like an orchestra conductor. He performed “Wicked Games” as the finale and humbly bowed on stage and waved to the fans thanking them multiple times before making his exit.

Review by Max Dishaw for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada

Photography by Jamie Sands

The Weeknd in Vancouver

The Weeknd in Vancouver

The Weeknd in Vancouver

The Weeknd in Vancouver

The Weeknd in Vancouver

The Weeknd in Vancouver


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@MaxDishaw

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Max has been producing, engineering and creating Hip-Hop music for the last 10 years. In 2011 he moved to London, England to study sound engineering with some of Europe's top engineers at Point Blank College of Music. Upon returning to Canada, Max enrolled at Nimbus School of Recording Arts where he continued his education in music production. He now resides in Vancouver where he operates a home studio and is actively involved with numerous local artists. Max is building his own production company Bodhi Tree Productions to assist unsigned artists with recording, mixing, mastering, grant writing and multiple other facets of artist development.

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