In a way, the pop star born Abel Tesfaye's career arc can be illustrated by his three appearances at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
In 2012, he was making one of his first live appearances as The Weeknd, the mystery man behind the acclaimed House of Balloons mixtape, and the returns were pretty spotty, with Tesfaye still appearance an uncomfortable, highly imperfect performer. "Are these songs meant for a festival? Is Abel made for the stage?" a Pigeons & Planes review of the performance asked rhetorically.
Tesfaye's 2015 return to Coachella was much better received -- by then, The Weeknd's early hype had faded somewhat, but his catalog was expanding and his stage presence was coming together. Playing opposite Saturday night's proper headliner Jack White, The Weeknd captured most of the evening's buzz, in large part due to a surprise appearance from Kanye West. It was still comfortably before Tesfaye would stage his coup within pop's mainstream with "Can't Feel My Face," but it proved that interest in The Weeknd was still high.