The Weeknd Pulls Out All The Stops at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara

in SF Concert Reviews by

What an unbelievable show last night by Canadian crooner, The Weeknd. It was a long time coming for the Toronto native whose original dates had been postponed twice because of COVID. The concert was scheduled as an arena show pre-covid and got elevated to the stadium level because of his recent meteoric rise in the charts. Last night was one of those times when even if you didn’t like The Weeknd (whose real name is Abel Tesfaye), you would’ve enjoyed the performance regardless. I mean even if only to witness that ginormous moon they had floating over the audience.

The Weeknd rising to the occasion at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara

But the moon wasn’t the only thing that stood out. With a backdrop that intricately displayed the singer’s hometown skyline, and one of the most impressive light shows that I think I’ve ever seen, calling this show “epic” would be an understatement.

Tesfaye kicked things off at around 9:20 appearing out of the fog like some kind of masked Phantom of the Opera character. He launched into “Alone Again” before revealing his handsome chiseled smiling face for “Gasoline”. He then ran through an impressive set of around 30 songs, including megahits “Starboy”, “The Hills”, but kept “Blinding Lights” for the grand finale.

The singer with an immaculate falsetto and the funky dance moves to match was accompanied by these Handmaid’s Tales-like characters covered in red drapes that served to heighten the drama of his already haunting songs.

And they were songs that the audience couldn’t get enough of. Fans of all ages could be seen up and down the tiered seating of the home stadium of the 49ers, trying to balance dancing to songs while using their phones to capture every last moment of their favorite pop star.

Let’s face it, the comparisons to Michael Jackson are there. The crystalline vocals, fancy foot moves, and statuesque poses are similar. But that’s also where it ends. The Weeknd is a Starboy in his own right. And with a sound and message that is truly his own, you just can’t take away from him.

Photos by Louis Raphael

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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