Although it was a dreary Sunday night in Houston, the weather didn't detour fans of Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, from jamming the Toyota Center for the Houston stop of The Madness Fall Tour. If the press-shy 25-year-old Canadian with Ethiopian roots feels any pressure to live up to predictions that he will be world’s next big recording star, it didn’t show.
He belted out a cross-genre playlist of sexy R&B ballads, catchy pop tunes and brooding melodies as dark and mysterious as his persona — and the sellout crowd hung onto every word.
Not only did a majority of those in attendance know every song, but audience members — including the super enthusiastic out-of-tune woman in the seat beside me who (unfortunately) didn't skip a lyric — weren't shy about singing along to hits including, “Can’t Feel My Face,"“Often,” and “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey, along with other fan faves like “Shameless,” “The Prisoner," “Angel,” and the sexy hit, “The Hills."
Also on the Weeknd's playlist was “Dirty Diana," showcasing his connection with his icon, Michael Jackson, to whom he is frequently compared to, with falsetto vocals and phenomenal quick-rising success.
"I skipped Texas on my last tour — after tonight, that won't happen again," he said.
Houston hip-hop artist Travi$ Scott, a former ball boy for the Houston Rockets who knows his way around Toyota Center, was the first of two warm-up acts. "This is one of the biggest days in my life ever," he told the packed venue.
Scott returned to the stage mid-way through The Weeknd’s set for a collaborative performance of his songs “Antidote” and “Pray 4 Love." Scott returns to Toyota Center in March when he opens for Rihanna.
Female singer and songwriter Halsey followed, and although the talented crooner’s voice was on-point, her playlist seemed a little downtempo for the hyped-up crowd.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who was less than satisfied after the concert as fans were no doubt appreciative of The Weeknd's sheer talent. As his reputation and success continue to grow, fans in the future will be able to marvel that they saw him on his way up at the Houston concert.