"Thank you for coming to my party," Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd told the crowd during his debut U.S. performance at Coachella Sunday night. "I don't like to talk too much so let's keep this s**t going."
It was the understatement of the festival. The reclusive singer released three critically acclaimed mixtapes in 2011, yet has refused all interview requests, award show appearances and virtually any other acknowledgment that would be the dream of most artists. The enigmatic approach—either by genuine shyness, clever marketing strategy or both—paid off, as the singer's set was one of the most anticipated of the festival.
As everyone from Chromeo and A-Trak to Rihanna and Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt looked on, the singer, with backing band in tow, performed nearly all of his breakout mixtape House of Balloons, sprinkling in tracks from its two follow-ups Thursday and Echoes of Silence.
While there was predictably little between-song banter, the singer appeared genial and cordial, blowing kisses to the crowd throughout the 13-song, 50-minute set. Live, the songs took on a harder, rockier feel than the bedroom R&B studio versions. The live band, dressed all in black, added sonic heft to tracks like "What You Need" and the Drake cover "Crew Love."
Judging by the inordinate amount of phones in the air, more than a few people were at the show for the "I was there" moment. Those that stayed until the end, though, when the singer performed standout track "Wicked Games" over just an acoustic guitar, saw a performer content to leave the self-promotion to others and let the tracks speak for themselves.
1. High For This
2. D.D./The Birds (Part 1)
3. Rolling Stone
5. Crew Love (Drake cover)
6. What You Need
7. The Zone
8. The Party & The After Party
9. The Knowing
11. The Morning
12. House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls
13. Wicked Games
The Weeknd - Full Coachella Performance