Recap: The Weeknd’s first NYC show - The Strut

Recap: The Weeknd’s first NYC show

Last night at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, The Weeknd played his first ever NYC show. Before this he had only played a handful of shows in his home country of Canada, and Coachella the past two weekends. I expected this show to start around 11pm, but because of this tweet I got there early.

Here’s a recap of the night:

8:40 Arrived at MHOW. About 150 people are already crowding to get close to the stage. I run downstairs to grab a drink and take a spot right in the middle of the room.
9:17 First weed odor
9:27 Staff comes on the the PA system to say “absolutely no photography allowed.” Crowd boos loudly.
9:30 Abel walks out wearing a cut off jean jacket (true to his Canadian roots) and a black XO(the name of his label) cap. He opens with High For This, puffs of smoke go up all around the room.
9:32 Starts singing his version of MJ’s Dirty Diana, transitions it into The Birds.
9:36 I notice almost everyone in the room is taking pictures. The staff doesn’t seem to care.
9:38 A short dude standing in front of me gets asked by a girl if he wants to stand in front of her so he can see. He does.
9:39 Starts playing his Drake collaboration Crew Love. Everyone in the room is singing at the top of their lungs from the opening line “Take your nose off my keyboard, what you bothering me for” (which I always think is about a cat, but probably isn’t). 
9:41 Abel yells “French where you at.” Rapper French Montana leans over the right balcony and waves his blinged out arm at the crowd. About 50 people scream.
9:42 Sings The Zone. I notice his voice is a little weaker than I hoped, but his tone is so perfect that it doesn’t matter.
9:45 Abel says “I just came from LA, and when I found out I was starting my tour in New York, the city that never sleeps one song came to mind. I didn’t look at it as a motherfucking gig it’s a motherfucking celebration.”
9:46 Points up to French Montana again and plays The Party & the After Party.
9:53 A man peeks out of the stage door and quickly closes it like he thought he was walking into the bathroom.
9:54 Stage lights turn red, sings Lonely Star.
9:55 Asks the crowd if they like House of Balloons. At that moment someone bats a balloon up to him on stage. He laughs and hits it back.
9:56 Plays The Knowing.
9:59 A pair of girls in front of me motion to each other, one makes an X with her hands, the other makes an O.
10:01 White guitar players with an afro steps up and shreds the guitar solo for The Knowing.
10:03 Plays Outside.
10:06 Abel gets the crowd to wave their hands side to side. By this time most of the cameras have been put down and people are just enjoying the show.
10:07 Plays Loft Music.
10:10 Plays Trust Issues.
10:13 Plays The Fall.
10:15 Abel says “Y’all are rowdy as fuck.”
10:16 The Morning starts. Nerdy girl in front of me comes alive when he sings “Girl put in work” and starts spinning and grinding. Her friend seems slightly embarassed but joins in.
10:20 Abel says ” I want y’all to scream”  and the crowd obliges as he goes into Glass Table Girls.
10:26 Leaves stage
10:27 While he is off stage a chant of “Weeknd” breaks out and some people yell to French Montana
10:28 Comes back on stage and does Wicked Games acoustic. Guy in front of me tells his girlfriend he is going to make a run for the bathroom and she gets angry.
10:29 Abel takes off his XO hat and everyone cheers.
10:34 Abel leavees the stage and throws his hat into the crowd for mad scramble.
10:35  In the bathroom line a wasted guy awkwardly asks his friend if he can crash on his couch, the friend agrees.
10:36 The friend tries to escape without his wasted buddy and gets called out for it. Wasted dude says “should we try to move in on girls or just go home?” They decide to move in on girls, but stand in place awkwardly not talking to anyone.
10:36 I walk away from the duo and out the door.
Josh Morrissey is on twitter:

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