Despite the fact that fans could see what ended up being virtually the same set at Coachella online for free, the show was in high demand (tickets were running as high as $375 on secondary sites -- face value was $30.) Music Hall itself was so packed with diehard fans anxious to sing along with Tesfaye on songs like "Loft Music," "Montreal" and "The Party & The After Party" that the hipster chorus drowned out Tesfaye's noticeably strained voice, which often struggled to hit the constant falsetto melismas his songs require.
Notoriously private (Tesfaye has declined all interviews since his first of three free EPs "House of Balloons" created a viral sensation last spring), Tesfaye was a man of few words onstage, speaking to the crowd only to make playful demands like "You better fuckin' sing along to my shit!" and offer the occasional "thank you." The "talk-less, sing-more" approach enabled Tesfaye and his four-piece band to plow through over a dozen songs in his nearly hour-long set, saving fan favorite "Wicked Games" for an acoustic encore.
In many ways, the Music Hall show was the embodiment of the mood Tesfaye creates so well on "House of Balloons" and subsequent EPs "Thursday" and "Echoes of Silence" -- marijuana was in abundant supply, glamorous Rihanna and Lady Gaga doppelgangers populated the venue's balcony and, yes, several fans brought balloons to float on stage. But to those just outside the devoted ranks, seeing The Weeknd play one slow jam after another grew a little tedious. Sure, his singing style has drawn (not unfair) comparisons to everyone from Michael Jackson to Drake to Trey Songz, but he lacks the innate stage presence and showmanship of all three of those performers.
Still, there's something to be said about a performer who's able to build a career largely around mystery and lack of access. And it's shaping up to be quite lucrative -- Tesfaye will likely bank several million in revenue by the time his tour finishes its run later this year (he's booked by the powerful William Morris Endeavor agent Marc Geiger), despite the fact that he's yet to make a dime off his own recorded music. He may not be the next coming of MJ as a full-package performer, but he'll most certainly be making MJ-esque money in no time at all.