The Weeknd brings visually stunning halftime performance

The Weeknd performed at the Pepsi Halftime Show for Super Bowl LV. Due to COVID-19, The Weeknd featured no guest performer.

Courtesy of Wiki Commons

The Weeknd performed at the Pepsi Halftime Show for Super Bowl LV. Due to COVID-19, The Weeknd featured no guest performer.

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers up 21 to 6 against the Kansas City Chiefs, halftime began at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Weeknd performed an assortment of songs during the Superbowl 2021 halftime show, which lasted around 15 minutes. 

The set was reminiscent of the themes and aesthetic from The Weeknd’s most recent album, “After Hours.” The Las Vegas imagery displayed during the opening of the show drew connections to his music video “Heartless.

Clad in a glittery red jacket, black suit and gloves, The Weeknd performed eight of his top hits. He opened with “Starboy,” emerging from a backlit room and performing amongst a choir. He continued on to play “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My Face.” During the latter, he disappeared into a room of mirrors with the camerawork feeling as though it was handheld. As he sang the chorus, he was met with men in matching suits and bandaged faces, drawing back to the imagery from his album.    

It was clear that a lot of thought went into the set design and the costume details. Everything from the suits worn by The Weeknd and his dancers to the masks and backdrops felt like a part of the character and the storyline created for “After Hours.”

The sixth song performed was “Earned It.” This song was beautifully accompanied by the gospel-like choir singing in the background as well as violinists who played along.

During his performance of “House of Balloons / Glass Table Girls,” The Weeknd finally made his way down onto the field after performing most of his set from the stage above. On the field, he was joined by a sizable amount of backup dancers. Once again, these dancers were dressed in the same black and red suits with bandaged faces. The dancers marched along the field in synchronization while The Weeknd danced down the middle.  

The final song of the night was “Blinding Lights.” After performing a medley of songs, some upbeat, while others were not, this was a perfect finale. Choreographer Charm La’Donna worked with The Weeknd and his team of dancers to create a mesmerizing and over-the-top show. 

Although he played many of his songs ranging from old to new, The Weeknd only performed short snippets of each, and at times, it seemed like his vocals were being drowned out by the instrumentals. There were no guest appearances from any other celebrities or musicians due to COVID-19 protocols, but that didn’t take away from the show.

The energy and cinematic feeling of his performance made up for the fact that there were COVID-19 restrictions in place. While under normal circumstances there are crowds of fans surrounding the artist who is performing, this time the only people on the field were The Weeknd, dancers and musicians.

Overall, the performance was visually stunning and was executed very well. It was especially impressive that a halftime show as intricate as this was able to go off without a hitch even with COVID-19 precautions.