The Weeknd performed in the UK for the first time since going to Number One with new album ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ last night (September 23), as he headlined London’s Apple Music Festival.
The R&B artist focused the majority of the set on ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ material and opened with album track ‘Prisoner’. Lana Del Rey, a guest on the track, was absent from the Roundhouse venue, leaving Abel Tesfaye to sing lines such as “I’m addicted to a life that’s so empty” solo.
Backed by a three piece band situated on a raised platform above him, Tesfaye asked the rapt audience if they were “ready to have some fun” and then ran through the bouncy and energetic ‘Losers’. He then slowed things down again with the Kanye West-produced ‘Tell Your Friends’.
Later in the set, Tesfaye thanked his “day one fans” who he said helped him sell out London’s much larger O2 Arena venue in 2013 when he had only released three free mixtapes. The middle of the hour-long performance was handed over to covers and songs Tesfaye has featured on, with his take on Beyoncé’s ‘Drunk In Love’ a highlight.
“Lets up the tempo,” Tesfaye said as he introduced hit single ‘Can’t Feel My Face’. An anomaly in a set comprised of introspective and maudlin R&B, the song’s disco bassline and Michael Jackson-esque vocals saw Tesfaye dancing across the stage to huge applause.
Spurred on by the rise in pace, Tesfaye later insisted everyone seated in the upper part of the venue got on their feet as he ended the set with ‘The Hills’. Having drained his new album of hits, Tesfaye returned for a two song encore and revisited his earliest material with ‘High For This’ and ‘Wicked Games’ ending the performance.
Apple Music Festival has already seen performances from Ellie Goulding, Take That and One Direction with headline performances from Disclosure, Pharrell Williams and Florence + The Machine still to come.
The Weeknd played:
‘Tell Your Friends’
‘Drunk in Love’
‘Love Me Harder’
‘House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls’
‘Can’t Feel My Face’
‘High For This’
Apple Music Festival line-up:
The Chemical Brothers and Hudson Mohawke (September 24)
Disclosure and Lion Babe and Nao (25)
Pharrell Williams and Leon Bridges (26)
Mumford & Sons and Jack Garratt (27)
Florence + The Machine and James Bay (28)