In a way, the career arc of pop star Abel Tesfaye can be illustrated with his three appearances at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
In 2012, he made one of his first live appearances as The Weeknd, the mysterious man behind the acclaimed House of Balloons mixtape, and the results were quite irregular, with Tesfaye still appearing as an interpreter uncomfortable and highly imperfect. "Are these songs for a festival? Is Abel made for the stage?" a critique of Pigeons & Planes on the performance that is rhetorically requested.
The return of Tesfaye to Coachella in 2015 was much better received: by then, the initial enthusiasm of The Weeknd had faded a bit, but its catalog was expanding and its presence on stage was joining. Playing in front of Jack White, headliner on Saturday night, The Weeknd captured most of the night's uproar, largely due to a surprise appearance by Kanye West. He was still comfortably before Tesfaye staged his hit inside mainstream pop with "Can not Feel My Face," but he showed that interest in The Weeknd was still high.
Now, on Friday night (April 13), Abel made a trilogy, quite appropriate, with his most successful interpretation of Coachella. Playing the right title for the first time, The Weeknd delivered a set of hits and favorites from fans that ranged from its early days until the release of their EP My Dear Melancholy two weeks before, alternating without interruptions between eras and impressive in some way, with how many strokes he has to sacrifice. And Tesfaye also knows how to play the role; He is now a professional in the work of the crowd, promoting his band, interacting with their songs and even offering a small step of two in some occasions. Nobody will confuse him with Beyonce in the short term, but neither is the funny and chubby singer with a Raiders hat that first adorned the Coachella stage.
It's revealing that no special guests were brought in during The Weeknd's Friday set, even Kendrick Lamar, who had appeared on the same stage an hour earlier to perform a couple of songs with TDE's label partner SZA, was absent during the opening of The Weeknd duo smash performance Black Panther collab "Pray for Me". This was the main moment gained by The Weeknd, and one that is not particularly lacking in extra exaggerations, with no need for another Kanye cameo when Abel is now essentially at Yeezy's popularity level.
– billboard (@ billboard) April 14, 2018  The set list of the night was well selected, loaded with successes but never overwhelming, and with some transitions absolutely inspired, like the final cacophony of "Pray for Me" that gives way to the distortion that opens "Starboy," or should have been " Starboy -only "Secrets" transforming into the classic pop "Can not Feel My Face" after the second chorus. House of Balloons got his own kind of rewarding mini-set, with Tesfaye dedicating logically "The Morning" to the great state of California, and provoking the main song of the set with a brief immersion in its introduction, on eight songs before actually playing it in its entirety in all its epic two-part glory.
My Dear Melanchol and – Abel finally got there, but he did not go into the subject as much as expected. They played five of the six songs on the set, but not until the set already had 15 songs deep, and there was not much of an introduction to their arrival; an "MDM" band that Tesfaye used on his right arm was the biggest statement the pop star made about the EP during his set. However, the songs sounded quite massive live: a simplified and emotionally charged version of "Call Out My Name" made mainly by only Tesfaye and his guitarist was particularly resonant, and the crowd was singing along with most of them, despite of the songs have only been available for a fortnight. Suppose that when your six-track album debuts at number 1 on the Billboard 200, with a first week in the range of 170,000 equivalent album units moved, you do not have to spend much time screaming at fans about the availability of the thing. in iTunes in your live shows.
The set of more than 20 songs ended with The Weeknd & # 39; s Hot 100, the last single from 2015 "The Hills", with flames that come from the back of the stage: a giant head with a change a face that looked sporadically to Tesfaye, looking like an ancient statue poking through the ruins, from the initial explosions of song synthesizers. The fact that Abel was able to end up with a kind of romantic horror ballad as captivating and disturbing as his great signing success told him everything he needed to know about what he had become in the six years since his first appearance at Coachella. : musical icon, almost in its entirety on its own terms, and in fact, a parental starboy.