On Friday night, the air was electric at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley as The Weeknd took center stage with support from BANKS and Anna Lunoe. Reeking of weed, lust, and emotions, the sold-out crowd was serenaded by Abel Tesfaye as he performed hits from his new album, Kiss Land, and sprinkled in some fan-favorite jams from Trilogy.
I’ve seen The Weeknd perform twice before and, as talented as he is, he never really seemed to connect with the crowd. Last Friday was a different story. Maybe he was reluctant to embrace his stardom before, but he definitely took the reigns of his success this weekend.
“Berkeley, I want to get on top of you!” Abel exclaimed as the show began. Pacing back and forth on stage with explosive energy and enthusiasm, gyrating seductively, and showing off dances moves reminiscent of Michael Jackson and Prince, the Weeknd now demanded the spotlight he was previously so afraid of.
Whether he was playing House of Balloons, Kiss Land, Belong To The World, Rolling Stone, or Wanderlust, The Weeknd hypnotized the Berkeley crowd for almost 90 minutes as they danced, fist-pumped, and sang along. During the encore of Wicked Games, the crowd held up lighters and cellphones, creating a surreal moment of swelling emotion and closure to an impressive show.
Photos and words by Jay Demetillo.