The Weeknd Covers Beyonce in Spellbinding Billboard Hot 100 Headlining Set
He performed numerous tracks from his forthcoming sophomore album and covered Beyonce's "Drunk In Love."
The allure of hits like "Can't Feel My Face" proved so strong that even the U.S. Coast Guard pulled up alongside the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Pyrotechnics accompanied set closer "The Hills," as the artist born Abel Tesfaye transitioned from woozy dirges to radio picks with relative ease.
Believe it or not, there was a time when the Weeknd never seemed like he'd be a singles artist. When he hit the scene in 2011 with the mind-blowing mixtape House of Balloons, he established himself as an expert architect of drug-addled soundscapes. Fortunately, he hasn't left that persona in the past.
He hit the stage Saturday night (Aug. 22) with "High For This," the opening track from House of Balloons. The track has a rock backbone even on the mixtape, and live -- backed by a drummer and guitarist -- that vibe came off even stronger. That didn't mean he couldn't get a groove going, either. Performing the Hot 100 chart-topper "Can't Feel My Face" as his next-to-last song, there was plenty of dancing throughout the massive crowd.
That held true over the course of the set. Tesfaye is an R&B singer, backed by a rock band, who covers Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love" live. It all fits together into a compelling 21st century rock star persona that was out in full force on Long Island.
His sophomore album Beauty Behind the Madness drops Aug. 28, and judging from the reaction and turnout last night, there's even more reason to get excited.