Review: The Weeknd at Perth Arena, Perth, 14th December 2017
The most impressive aspect of The Weeknd’s (also known as Abel Tesfaye) stellar showing at Perth Arena wasn’t the Canadian afro-sporting sensation’s stylish white shoes, but his amicability and seriously stunning light show. Not content to rest on his high-topped laurels, the man himself gave the baying crowd a night to remember – the eye-catching, ever-changing lights taking the shape of a triangle suspended above the stage, manipulated with a hypnotic grace.
The support acts served the show swimmingly, Lil Panda captivating the crowd with his electronic drum beats, while Nav brought emphatic style, his slick rhymes backed up by his wingman’s virtuosic beats. Had French Montana’s performance followed the same drill, it could have been monotonous, and while there were a few slightly dull moments, the hip-hop artist’s infectious energy and unshakeable will to please the crowd were enough to lift the mood.
The Weeknd started off the last show of his Starboy tour in appropriate fashion, with the track of the same name. Setting the scene in a sensual way, warm synth tones were accompanied by the lowering of the aforementioned lights, a consistent pulsing raising tension to a fever pitch. As the stage was illuminated by a flash of light, punters’ arms flailed like fleshy coral as Tesfaye captured them in his seductive spell. Credit to the backing band, whose musical skills set Tesfaye up to reach the greatest of heights.
Audience interaction was a major selling point throughout the evening, with the audience directed to use their phone flashlights to create a surreal starry set-piece. Collectively, the crowd never calmed down, high on the fumes exhibited by the spectacle. Tesfaye resembled the late Michael Jackson as he slipped, slid and hopped across the stage, all without breaking a sweat or missing a beat. His query for assurance that everyone was enjoying themselves was followed by a dry statement: “The people in the front look like they’re ready to go home”. Suitably rebutted by a piercing, arena-wide scream, the performer grinned before starting another song.
These personable moments left a lasting impression of The Weeknd, the most affecting of which was when French Montana came onstage to congratulate him on his musical journey. With such a solid support network, it’s no small wonder that Tesfaye has been able to live what many can only dream of. The soft touch of ‘I Feel It Coming’ was a perfect end to the main set, with a bombastic encore rounding out the carefully constructed blitz of a performance.