By Marisol Velez
Contributing Writer for
The Hype Magazine
A rainy Friday night in Chicago found its ray of light: The Weeknd was in town and ready to rock a predominantly packed show at the Congress Theater. Promoted by React Presents, the 3,500 person standing room venue was shoulder-to-shoulder and so ready to accept and zone-out to the Toronto-born singer for the first stop of his “The Fall” tour.
The stage was adorned with square screens and satellite-shaped lights, but there were definitely no squares in sight. Everyone came out in their flyest apparel, seemingly trying to impress every person whose eyes would, for the night, be only fixated on the singer that Drake co-signed. The theater, located in Logan Square on the North side of Chicago, hosted a melting pot of people, though mostly female. Surprisingly, there weren’t too many girls in towering heels as is often expected at concerts. Being an all ages show, perhaps the young people in attendance hadn’t been conformed to those types of uncomfortable bourgeois gender assignations. For every two or three single girls, though, was a male and female coupled up all standing the same way: Him behind her with his arms wrapped around waist, her arms resting on top of his. It made me wonder if there’s a how-to handbook out there titled: “Booed Up: How To Stand at Concerts“.
The Weeknd didn’t go on until around 9 p.m., but as soon as he hit the stage a sea of cell phones raised up and a flood of photos were Facebooked, Tweeted, Instagrammed and Myspaced. (Ok… maybe not Myspaced.) The laser white lights beaming into the crowd and hot orange fire simulations set the perfect background for any of those said sent social media pictures. The screens flashed many images, most of which I think spoke to The Weeknd’s obsession with runny-makeuped white women. He performed songs like “High For This”, “Wicked Games”, “The Morning” and “What You Need”, and through most of the show I felt bad that I didn’t have as many songs memorized as the die-hards. My saving grace was when he started “Crew Love”, where the crowd was responsible for performing Drake’s verse. I aced that part.
Accompanied by a live band and backup singers, The Weeknd’s unique singing voice sounded just like it does on record. His drummer, reminiscent of Animal from The Muppets, woke something up inside of me with his impeccable skill that made me want to yell “Get a drum or sum’n!” in my Jay Z voice. I’m sure, thought, that it would have certainly frightened the many people who were either drunk, high, in acquaintance with a girl named Molly, or all of the above. I couldn’t help but worry for the people hanging off the balcony, too, who holding balloons with “XO” scribbled on looked like if they could dive down into the crowd, they would. One of the highlights of the night, though, had nothing to do with The Weeknd’s showmanship and everything to do with that aforementioned worry of people falling. A girl, perched atop her guy’s shoulders, toppled down like a tower and took him with her, throwing her drink into the crowd. Like a boss.
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