Way Past Dawn: The Weeknd’s “After Hours Til Dawn” Tour lands in Denver

By Daniel Paiz

PC: Daniel Paiz

Things went way past dawn as The Weeknd brought along Kaytranada and Mike Dean for the “After Hours Til Dawn” landing in Denver. Move along Rolling Stones, power down Metallica, and cool off Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Weeknd really likes to turn up the volume. This was likely the loudest concert Empower Field at Mile High has had in recent memory.

Appreciation abounded as the crowd engaged more and more as the night went on. However, there was something noticeable about this crowd (more on that later). Let’s talk about volume control first.

Why did they want to hurt my ears though

Stadium tours tend to focus on blaring the sound to get the crowd going and to test the limits of one’s ears and mind. Mike Dean obliged happily as his trap and instrumental set rattles and moves the venue from the very start. This crowd seemed unfamiliar with the openers, although after tonight hopefully curiosity rises up. It’s understandable one might not be into Dean’s music if they aren’t into instrumental/trap offerings (although one misses out by not checking out such sound creators).

Kaytranada is a creative musician who will present music to you that does one of two things: you will either groove, or you will bounce. No chance of escaping this musical conundrum, as this audience learned in real time. “Need It” then followed with “Taste”, complimented with “Got It Good” and my absolute favorite “Lite Spots” were just a morsel of tonight’s musical offerings.

A meeting of musical movement meandering towards euphoria, Kaytranada was my highlight of the night. I’m holding back several lines of criticism of this audience during large portions of this set. Suffice it to say, there have to have been some musical awakenings this Thursday eve. Fans of funky Weeknd tunes sat motionless for incredibly similar funk brought forth from this Montreal creative. Musical exploration is one of the most truly enjoyable journeys you will take, and tonight had to spark such musical itineraries.

Alright, let’s get into this headliner person.

El Fin De Semana was a bit distorted

Remember if you will previous parts written about the whole blaring sounds throughout the night; The Weeknd had everything turned all the way up. So much so, that honestly the overreaching bass led to distorted sound reducing the quality of his set. I’m not sure if Weeknd had his own sound people running things at house (that tent or area blocked off to the crowd where the audio and visual cues and tools are monitored), or if the stadium was in charge of that.

PC: Daniel Paiz

The farther sound has to travel, the more it tends to weaken; however, it sounded like that was overcompensated for tonight. That high volume led to Weeknd’s mic getting a bit drowned out. Fortunately, the loudness seemed to get better when tracks that weren’t so bass-heavy rolled out.

PC: Daniel Paiz

It was a solid set for the “Blinding Lights” singer, but could have been spectacular if the volume matched that impressive stage. A handful of model buildings imitating a downtown area with the screen mirroring similar buildings made for a skyline of manipulated depth. A giant moon on the other side with a catwalk connecting the two made fantastic use of the floor space.

The production level was Grammy/Super Bowl level, and had the sound been monitored closer, this show likely gains legendary status. Alas, hopefully other stops don’t deal with this. Plus, with tonight’s set list ranging from 2011 jams to tracks like “Save Your Tears” and ‘Take My Breath”, The Weeknd has officially arrived as he fills up NFL stadiums.


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