The lead up to Abel Tesfaye taking one of the biggest stages in the world has certainly been a dramatic one. When it was announced last fall that The Weeknd would be performing at the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show, fans were excited that his After Hours era was going to get another moment in the spotlight. But then, when the Grammys strangely snubbed the record — despite it being one of his most successful and critically-acclaimed projects — rumors began to swirl that it had something to do with his halftime slot.
Most of that turbulence has settled down in the weeks since the Grammy nominations were announced though, and Toronto’s mayor even dedicated today’s date, Feb 7th, to The Weeknd. For his show today, the R&B star did not disappoint, launching into a medley of hits against an old world Las Vegas backdrop. He began with a well-known older song, launching directly into “Starboy,” accompanied by a choir, and transitioning from there into another older jam, “The Hills,” one of the biggest songs in his oeuvre.
Following that pair of songs up with another radio banger, “I Can’t Feel My Face,” he was joined in a dizzying golden maze by a number of Abel lookalikes, all of whom sported the same red blazer and plastic surgery bandages that have defined the After Hours aesthetic. Next, he hit the roof for a joyful take on “I Feel It Coming,” a track that features Daft Punk — who weren’t able to make it to Tampa — and finally dipped into “Save Your Tears,” the most recent song in the set so far. “Earned It” came next followed by a “House Of Balloons” interlude, and then the grand finale, “Blinding Lights.”
We already knew no guests were set to join him onstage, likely due to COVID-19 precautions, but Abel was more than… able to carry the show on his own. Watch the show above.