In late September Ed Sheeran gave The Weeknd’s “Dark Times” a shot on his own when he played a sold-out show at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Tonight, the British singer-guitarist was the surprise guest of the Canadian superstar at his sold-out hometown concert, at the same venue, where they performed the same song.
Sheeran co-wrote and is featured on the track, which appears on the Weeknd’s latest No. 1 album, Beauty Behind The Madness.
The Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye) kicked off The Madness Fall Tour — the R&B singer’s first-ever arena tour — on Tuesday night with another sold-out show at the ACC and held the night with his bandmates, drummer Ricky Lewis, keyboardist/bassist Ledaris “LJ” Jones and guitarist Patrick Greenaway.
There were no special guests, save for a couple of fans who leapt on stage unexpectedly during “The Hills” encore.
The Weeknd just worked the guy in, linking arms in a short-lived do-si-do before security whipped him off; the young lady didn’t get that far to even touch the star. The only other things that ended up on the stage that wasn’t supposed to were a couple of bras.
Much like The Weeknd’s career trajectory, the hour-and-45 minute set started with the singer shrouded behind a wire-cage-like scrim, before suddenly rising high above it on a small hydraulic catwalk to behold his fans… from mysterious artist to connected performer.
The dazzle needed to fill a stage that big was tasteful and simple, the scrim projecting light patterns and images as multiple giant cube lights retracted overhead and rotated for the duration. Pyro was used during “Crew Love” and “The Hills” including explosions and sticks of fire because, well, when you’ve reached these heights in your career, why not?
The Weeknd’s tour ends Dec. 19 in Miami.