The After Hours // Til Dawn tour was a cinematic experience, not a concert. The performance echoes theatre or a Hollywood film rather than a musical performance.
The scale of this event was hard to fathom, with The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) selling out arena tours across North America. The stage design was massive, with one of the best setups we have seen incorporating extras dressed in red robes, apocalyptic city skylines, and an oversized full moon. During the performance, the Weeknd sang each of his tracks with impressive acoustic quality & his on-stage movement was energetic.
The Weeknd has cemented his legacy as a creative visionary with his last two releases, After Hours (2020) & Dawn FM (2022). Both incorporate narratives, storytelling, and symbolism you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, especially on a massive arena touring scale. His evolution as an artist speaks to a constantly developing vision for boundary-pushing; being at the top of the industry, he still pulls for conceptual releases rather than taking a safe route.
Abel's work personifies the internal / less desirable aspects of relationships and lifestyles many people experience. The After Hours (2020) character exaggerates the seduction of external stimuli (ie. drinking, smoking, sex, achievements, money). Abel is consistently seen in a red tuxedo making appearances in music videos and live performances, playing the role of a character taken over by these temptations.
By contrast, Dawn FM (2022) is the evolution of this character experiencing a spiritualist ego death of sorts. Abel is noticeably older on the album cover for Dawn FM (2022), and the subject matter is more mature. Even though the same themes of relationship toxicity are still there, he confronts them and questions his past decision-making.
Regret is a constant theme of the album, where he focuses on those he hurt/let get away. None other than Jim Carrey (who has a history of discussing spirituality, manifestation, ego confrontations, etc.) poetically provides a passage accounting for this transformation.
JIM CARREY ON ‘PHANTOM REGRET”
"If pain's living on when your body's long gone - And your phantom regret hasn't let it go yet - You may not have died in the way that you must - All specters are haunted by their own lack of trust - When you're all out of time, there's nothing but space - No hunting, no gathering, no nations, no race - And Heaven is closer than those tears on your face - When the purple rain falls, we're all bathed in its grace.
Heaven's for those who let go of regret.
In other words
You gotta be Heaven to see Heaven
May peace be with you."
This is a can't miss tour.