Watch The Weeknd’s chaotic, triumphant Super Bowl halftime performance


The Weeknd drew from his hefty catalogue of hits for his performance at this evening’s Super Bowl LIV Halftime show in Tampa, Florida. Opening with “Starboy”, from his album of the same name, the singer born Abel Tesfaye ran through Beauty Behind The Madness‘s “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My Face”, Starboy‘s “I Feel It Coming”, After Hours‘s “Save Your Tears“, 50 Shades of Grey theme “Earned It”, and “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” from Trilogy, before closing with megahit “Blinding Lights“. Featuring no guests, the entire set felt like a flex from an artist who has become something of an underdog megastar. Seven of the eight songs performed were top 10 hits, and four were number ones; all but “House Of Balloons” feature on The Highlights, The Weeknd’s new greatest hits compilation announced last week.

Beginning by stepping out of a car in a miniaturised set of Las Vegas, The Weeknd was flanked by dancers during much of his set — at first by men wearing goggles and robes, and then by dancers clad in the bandages and red suit that have defined much of the After Hours era. During “Can’t Feel My Face”, The Weeknd ran into a surreal, shimmering mirrored corridor, a recreation of the sets of many of the After Hours press shots and portions of the “Heartless” video. Unlike much of the After Hours press and album cycle, The Weeknd was not bloodied or bandaged or prostheticised for any of the show.

Unlike usual Super Bowl halftime shows, The Weeknd’s performance did not take place on a stage in the middle of the field. Instead, a stage was erected in the stands of the stadium. Per Pitchfork, The Weeknd put $7 million of his own money into the performance, and the workforce required to put the show on was noticeably smaller than usual. Still, the level of spectacle was as expected — especially for a show that, if the chatter is true, cost The Weeknd any chances at winning any Grammys for After Hours.

Last week, The Weeknd announced rescheduled dates for his After Hours tour, which was initially set to take place this year. The tour, which will feature 104 shows — 39 more than initially planned, perhaps due to the ubiquity of “Blinding Lights” over the past year, and the likely Super Bowl popularity bump — will begin in Vancouver, and run through North America before moving to Europe, finishing in London at The O2 Arena. Find details for the tour here.

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