The Weeknd - live at Manchester Arena

Review: The Weeknd (Legend of the Fall Tour) at Manchester Arena

  • NQ's Jack Park reviews The Weeknd's sold-out gig at the Manchester Arena
  • The American sensation was supported by Lil Uzi Vert and Bryson Teller 

The Weeknd, AKA Starboy, AKA Abel Tesfaye is back at Manchester Arena, but this time he's no support act, he’s got his own gig and boy is it mind blowing.

Rabid fans queued for hours and hours to see the Starboy, camping out with blankets and an endless supply of Greggs pasties. Doors opened around 6:30pm and yes, I managed to get a standing spot right next to the barrier that’s next to a huge shard of a stage that sticks out into the crowd. Above me, a star destroyer of architecture pulses light and images of fire for all to glare at, I was already hypnotised. I hoped the outstanding music that was about to come lived up to the same standard as the visuals.

Tesfaye also had two supporting acts that performed before he performed, Lil Uzi Vert and Bryson Teller. I won’t lie, I hadn’t heard of Lil Uzi before but a lot of the crowd seemed to love it as he rapped his way around the stage and even jumped down to the crowds level before being blinding by camera flashes and numerous selfie lights. This lasted about twenty minutes before Teller stormed onto the stage with three neon band boxes in tow. His band were very slick with every beat representing a different colour on the boxes, I was definitely pumped up for more.

Around 9pm, the stage goes black, he’s here. He’s here and I am ready. I have been a fan of Abel for the past five years and ever since dropping ‘House of Balloons’ six years ago, he has certainly skyrocketed to superstardom. I was cautious that most of the crowd wouldn’t know the older songs but as he ascended from the stage, everyone lost their minds. Abel often asked “who remembers this one?” before journeying through a playlist that features the darker, Kiss Land and Trilogy tracks. His early work, even though more faded now was still present and able (no pun intended) to get everyone going.

Teaming up with Daft Punk, Del Rey and Future to name a few on his latest album Starboy was certainly a nice move and every song felt different and I was never stood thinking anything was out of place. I certainly drained a lot of my phones battery recording multiple videos and at one point he was within touching distance, just a shame I couldn’t reach out and grab some of the fame. Highlights also included ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, ‘Sidewalks’ and ‘False Alarm’ as The Weeknd definitely made his mark on the second city. During ‘Starboy’ the stage lights up a multitude of reds and yellows, nobody can say this performance wasn’t slick and I’m sure touring round Europe has given The Weeknd inspiration for his next hit after hit, I’m sure more music is going to come this year and next.

I left with a ringing in my ears and back pain from jumping but it was all so worth it. If there’s a story that’s going to get even better than it is now, it’s Mr Tesfaye’s. All hail the king.