Photos by Katrina Wong Shue
It was a weekend of celebrity sightings, movie premieres and Toronto’s own brought his world tour to the Air Canada Centre.
Opening the show was Lil Panda, Nav and French Montana with appearances by Belly.
Nav took the stage just before 8 o’clock to a half empty arena. Hailing from just north of the city in Rexdale, Nav first gained mainstream attention when a Snapchat of Kylie Jenner lip-syncing to one of his songs went viral. From there, he has collaborated with Travis Scott and The Weeknd and is now signed to the OX family.
He came off a bit awkward on a stage that size. As he paced the stage, favouriting stage right more, he kept asking if the crowd was ready for The Weeknd. It might take a while before he has gained confidence from doing live shows as one can imagine how intimidating the ACC can be.
Arriving to a more filled arena was New York rapper French Montana. Between the visuals behind him, a dancer and hype man, French Montana got the room up dancing. He was a great warm up for The Weeknd in the sense that the atmosphere felt like it was brought to another level.
As 9:30 p.m. hit, the lightning bolt shaped walkway that went through the middle of the ACC started to light up as The Weeknd came up through the floor. It was like a scene out of a sci-fi movie. Wearing skinny black jeans, boots and an oversized dark denim jacket that shelves lit up, The Weeknd was welcomed by an arena of screaming fans.
Vocally, he sounded good for the amount of activity he did on stage, jumping, running from one end to the other. His set list was a mixture of albums and mixtapes. The crowd was more favourited to the newer tracks such as Starboy and Can’t Feel My Face. The earlier singles didn’t get as many sing-a-longs as the newer stuff did.
He brought out Nav for their single “Some Way”, Belly for “Might Not” and French Montana for a mid-set intermission of “Unforgettable”.
A highlight of the night was the use of production. A triangle hanging above the lightening bolt shaped stage moved and light up with a screen, overall visually very appealing.
He ended the night with a mash-up of “Secrets” and “Can’t Feel My Face” with a good two minutes of applause from Toronto as he stood to soak it all in. The Weeknd has certainly come a long way from playing the MOD Club in 2011 and now selling out arenas across the globe.
The tour still has three more Canadian dates left then going through the States before ending off in Australia at the end of the year.