The Weeknd got his money’s worth with a lavish Super Bowl Halftime performance.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s NFL championship had an eerily small audience compared to the usual overflowing stadium. But that didn’t stop The Weeknd from pleasing the crowds, both those in the stands and people watching at home, with a decked-out concert featuring fireworks, a massive choir, and doppelgängers galore.
The seven-song set kicked off with “Starboy” and “The Hills” before segueing into to material from The Weeknd’s massive After Hours, one of the best albums of 2020. In particular, the Toronto coroner delivered thrilling performances of “Can’t Feel My Face”, “Save Your Tears”, and “Blinding Lights”, which appropriately served as the closer. The setlist was rounded out by “I Feel It Coming” and “Earned It”.
The Super Bowl Halftime Show is always a big ordeal for musicians, but it marked an especially monumental high point in The Weeknd’s career. It was the grand finale of his After Hours album cycle, which he’s been treating as a theatrical unraveling for the main character in the album’s story. Prior to now, The Weeknd had transformed into a person with a face full of bandages, a severed head, and even a drastic plastic surgery, all in the name of portraying the protagonist’s night-gone-wrong.
The Weeknd left it all on the stage during the Halftime Show, and for good reason. The Grammys snubbed him from nominations as alleged retaliation for accepting the Super Bowl gig, and that blatant shut-out left him reeling from a “sucker punch” to the chest. What better way to prove the Grammys made a shameful mistake than by putting on an unforgettable concert for millions of viewers?
Update: According to Warp Records, Daniel Lopatin, a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never served as the musical director for The Weeknd’s Halftime Show.
Before Super Bowl LV kicked off, Miley Cyrus headlined a special gig for Florida healthcare workers at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium.
Congrats @0PN musical director of @theweeknd's halftime show 🏟 #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/TH6RATxhl1
— Warp Records (@WarpRecords) February 8, 2021