The Weeknd Draws Drake to Sold-Out Debut in Toronto
addition of a drummer, guitar and bassist/keys player added a raucousness that the album itself was missing.
During 'The Morning,' the Weeknd's pseudo-mentor Drake stood on the balcony yelling the words to the chorus with as much excitement as the fans below. But the rap mega-star made no cameo appearances Sunday night, allowing Tesfaye to finally put aside all the mystery and fully have his moment.
Watch the Weeknd Perform in Toronto
Running through all the songs from the free, Polaris Prize-nominated 'House of Balloons' (plus a few new ones, like 'Rolling Stone' and 'The Birds Pt. 1'), the Weeknd didn't stray too far from their trusted arrangements -- though the team who make up Tesfaye's live band took the lead and ad-libbed when the moment allowed.
'Coming Down' opened with Tesfaye on keys, mic cracking, while 'Glass Table Girls' was extended with alt-y guitar work and vocal key changes, enhancing the album version's screw effect, and 'Loft Music' sounded like a dream live.
The 20-year-old relished the sense of excitement running through the room: letting the amped crowd sing whole choruses and verses, peppering his praise for the hometown audience with forceful, relieved f-bombs. He also smiled a lot, clearly thrilled that his first gig -- which was downright ambitious since he'd thrown it DIY style without a promoter and offered no special access to the media looking to cover the spectacle -- had been such a wild success.
The tangible hesitance and Tesfaye's few soft-spoken monologues tempered a lot of the doped-up persona and sexual excess that fuels the content of and hype around 'House of Balloons.' We buy our stars damaged these days, as Amy Winehouse's heartbreaking death proves, but seeing a clear-eyed, present face behind