The Weeknd took care of the musical portion of the 55 Sundaye Super Bowl night. The Canadian singer’s halftime act has been one of the most successful in recent years. The icing on the cake in the cultural chapter of this sporting evening, the poet Amanda Gorman, revealed during the inauguration of Joe Biden, once again moved the whole world before the kickoff.
Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, had promised a theatrical performance. And it is a performance that could not be more theatrical that he served us. But also superbly staged and well executed. Rarely does a Canadian artist headline the spectacle of this fundamentally American sporting event. It had been almost 20 years since Shania Twain was there in 2003. The Windsor singer kicked off the halftime festivities with her biggest hit, Man, I Feel Like a Woman. The Weeknd chose his Starboy hit. In front of one of the giant screens located above the end zone, installed in a convertible, he launched his performance of ten minutes overlooking the Raymond James stadium. These first images were only the beginning of an electrifying quarter of an hour.
A whole staging
A large choir, posted on luminous steps several meters high (drawing the silhouette of a city), participated in the grandiose effect that the musician had promised. These same tiers opened and closed over the performance to give more dimension to the number, which has never been static. Designed as a cinematographic production, the number has captivated. Before our eyes unfolded an astonishing staging and setting that cost the 30-year-old Toronto singer $ 7 million. Note here that the Montreal company PixMob signs the visual number that unfolded in the crowd, equipped with bracelets illuminated to the rhythm of the music. They are also the ones who provided the eyes of light for the members of the choir and the luminescent accessories for the dancers on the ground.
The Weeknd and no one else
The Weeknd, completely abandoning the idea of remaining stationed on a fixed stage, made the whole football field… his playground. From its imposing structure, The Weeknd then moved the festivities directly onto the lawn, which ‘you rarely see during the halftime numbers. In front of 25,000 people (!) And 30,000 cardboard audience members, the performer sang a medley of half a dozen of his songs (many old tracks-Can’t Feel My Face, I Feel it Coming , Earned It). We wondered who he would invite for this show that many dream of for their careers. Despite some rumors, no name had been officially announced. And for good reason, the Torontonian has not shared his 14 minutes of glory with anyone.
True to himself
The Weeknd must have changed the tone of its artistic proposition a bit for this issue. The prince of R & B, since the release of his album After Hours (2020), has adopted a dark aesthetic, with sometimes violent images. He had promised a fairly conventional performance this time around, knowing that his performance would be seen by over 100 million people (often more spectators than the game itself). Under the fireworks, surrounded by his army of dancers with bandaged faces (think Sam Raimi’s Darkman), The Weeknd wrapped up the number with the song we’ve been hearing everywhere for a few months, Blinding Lights. It should be noted that all this happened without the intervention of the playback (which others before him decided to use, to the chagrin of the spectators) and that the voice of Abel Tesfaye did not fail. task.
Two minutes from Amanda Gorman
Before the kick-off, before The Weeknd’s performance, it was poet Amanda Gorman who (once again) captivated the world by reciting a poem of her own. The 22-year-old artist told The Daily Show that she was contacted for the Super Bowl around the same time as the presidential inauguration. She first concentrated on writing the superb poem she presented on January 20, a hymn of resilience. For the Super Bowl, an event of a completely different content, Amanda Gorman paid tribute to the heroes of COVID-19. A brief, but touching tribute in which she recounted the courage of a teacher, a nurse and a veteran. “Even in tragedy, hope is possible”, recited in particular the first winner of the national prize for young poet, all dressed in blue. Special mention to singer HE R, who was also superb when she performed America The Beautiful, electric guitar in hand – which served her for a strong solo.