‘Live at Sofi Stadium’: Living for The Weeknd
Nicole Bilyak | Monday, March 6, 2023
Canadian singer The Weeknd announced a live concert film to be released for his “After Hours til Dawn”and as a live album a week later, titled “Live at SoFi Stadium.” The film was shot in Inglewood, California and released on HBOMax.
Appearing on streaming services on Feb. 25, the film featured songs from all of The Weeknd’s past albums, going back as far as 2011. The theme and tone of the film went more in a post-apocalyptic direction with a science fiction vibe. The concert also featured Imperial Guard-style dancers performing in a cult-like manner.
The stage design for the concert was really cool. It was divided into three stages: The first part was the main stage, with a backdrop of destroyed buildings, including Toronto’s CN Tower and a screen showing visuals of a post-apocalyptic skyline. The second stage led to a catwalk with a large inflatable moon, which led to a third circular stage. The Weeknd used all three, along with his dancers. As a science fiction and dystopia nerd, I thought the ambiance of the concert was unique. It gave me both “Star Wars” and “Dune” vibes the whole time I was watching. The intro portion of the film threw me off a bit, but I liked how it tied into the concert’s opening number, “Alone Again.”
Speaking of the opening number, many of the songs The Weeknd sings were really enjoyable. There were a lot of songs he sang from previous years that I recognized. Three of those songs were “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Starboy” and “Blinding Lights.” “Can’t Feel My Face” was from The Weeknd’s second studio album, “Beauty Behind the Madness.” “Starboy” was from the album of the same name, while “Blinding Lights” was from his previous album, “After Hours.” I wasn’t as familiar with the other songs, since I haven’t listened to a full Weeknd album in years, but I really liked a good chunk of them. I especially loved the first two songs, the aforementioned “Alone Again” and the second, “Gasoline.” Many of the songs were sexually charged, with many of the lyrics talking about sexual activity and the like. A few of the songs also dug into The Weeknd’s drug addiction, before he became a musical artist.
The concert film was actually attributed to the fact that the concert was one of the biggest debuts for a music special in the history of HBO Max, and it clearly shows. SoFi Stadium was absolutely jam-packed with fans, and it really did feel like I was actually at the concert — only, I was able to watch it from the safety of my dorm room. This was also The Weeknd’s first live concert film and live album. I have to give him kudos, since this concert was so much fun.
However, I would be remiss not to mention that there were some problems I had with the film and some of The Weeknd’s music in general. The biggest problem I had was the fact that The Weeknd dropped slurs on more than one occasion, which I found extremely offensive and made me very uncomfortable. I also had a bit of a problem with the costume design of the dancers. Since I stated earlier that this gave me “Star Wars” vibes, I was put off by the blatant symbolism of the dancers being Imperial Guards. It just screamed public relations nightmare waiting to happen.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert film, as it was the first concert film that I’ve viewed. Hopefully, fans of The Weeknd love it just as much.
Title: “The Weeknd: Live at SoFi Stadium”
Director: Micah Bickham
Starring: The Weeknd
If you liked: “Elton John: Farewell from Dodger Stadium”
Shamrocks: 4 out of 5