"The Weeknd proved himself as a phenomenal live act with an extensive discography of hits - hopefully it's not too long before he makes it Down Under again."
It was slow getting into Qudos Bank Arena, with a long line of eager The Weeknd fans standing unsheltered from the rain. The excited concertgoers eventually took things into their own hands, opening up the gates and running to the doors causing a bit of brief chaos.
Nav (Navraj Singh Goraya) got the crowd going with his mix of hip hop, trap and R&B. The rapper from Ontario, Canada performed his self-titled song NAV, before he and his DJ had everyone raise a finger to the sky as Minute, his track with Migos' Offset, rapper Playboi Carti and frequent collaborator Metro Boomin, began.
"I really fuck with y'all, Sydney," Nav informed the crowd before launching into his verse on Travis Scott's Beibs In The Trap, which had everyone turn up. "We're supposed to go, but if you want one more song put your lights and lighters up," they announced and the crowd complied, resulting with them finishing Nav's set with Myself in front of some pretty cool visuals.
French Montana (Karim Kharbouch) was next to take the stage, the Moroccan-American hip hop artist kicking off his set with hit tracks like Pop That and Don't Panic. He let the crowd know how much he loved their city and beaches before asking if he could "drink up" with them. Cups were raised as he launched into last year's No Shopping collaboration with Drake. Some '90s hip hop classics were mixed in with new hits - the start of R Kelly's Bump N' Grind introduced Montana's Bad Bitch feat Jeremih and DMX's Party Up (Up In Here) kicked off Chris Brown's Loyal, which had everyone vibing.
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Everyone stood up for his latest hit single Unforgettable, which has gone triple Platinum in Australia and peaked at #1 on the ARIA Urban chart. As he announced that it was one of his favourite shows ever, and finished with even more hits (Whiskey Eyes and All The Way Up), French Montana's set seemed more like a headliner than a support.
A fight broke out on the dancefloor shortly after French Montana left the stage and resulted in several security guards escorting a man out of the venue by force as the crowd loudly cheered. The Weeknd's DJ came out and played the perfect tracks of 2017 to get a hip hop/R&B crowd hyped up: Big Shaq's Man's Not Hot, Cardi B's Bodak Yellow, Migos' Bad & Boujee and Kendrick Lamar's HUMBLE.
Screams and cheers filled the arena as the lights dimmed and the Starboy himself appeared. Stage designer Es Devlin's set design was massive, with a huge triangular structure covered in lights that moved and took form during the start of opener Starboy. The Weeknd didn't rely on the theatrics during his arena show though, showcasing his incredible live vocals on stage accompanied by a three-piece band; a talented drummer, bassist and guitarist who all seemed to be smoking the entire time.
He treated fan's to his parts in Future's Low Life, Drake's Crew Love and Ty Dolla $ign's Or Nah, before bringing his fellow Canadian Nav back out for their track Some Way. "This is the first time I've ever been here," he noted before playing Six Feet Under, another track of his latest album. Although he's been releasing music for five years, this was the first time his tour has made it to Sydney, meaning the crowd had some of his extensive back catalogue of hits to catch up on. "A few years ago I dropped this body of work... I thought I'd come to Sydney, Australia and sing a couple of songs," he revealed before performing The Morning and Wicked Games from Trilogy (2012).
He moved onto 2015's Beauty Behind The Madness, showing off his vocal range with Angel accompanied only by some strummed electric guitar chords, and eliciting screams with hits like Often and the epic Earned It, which the crowd knew all the words to.
He brought out French Montana to perform Unforgettable for a second time (no one seemed to mind at all), before asking his audience if they were ready to go home, or if he could play a few more songs. The Weeknd did a mash-up of new song Secrets and throwback Can't Feel My Face before finishing with the huge track he teamed up with Daft Punk for, I Feel It Coming, which is impossible not to dance to. Fans were cheering for another song before he'd even left the stage and C02 jets and the startling synth at the beginning of The Hills answered their requests.
The Weeknd proved himself as a phenomenal live act with an extensive discography of hits - hopefully it's not too long before he makes it Down Under again.