Tesfaye seemed a bit nervous - not surprising for an artist who initially kept his name a secret, and even now banned cameras from the show. Though finally front and centre, he wore a camouflage jacket and remained strikingly still as if to be as unobtrusive as possible. Still, he confidently opened with High for This, causing the lit-fuse crowd to go off. At times he seemed taken aback by the reception, standing there, mike in both hands, staring out as the crowd sang his words back to him. It was an emotional night, and that came through in his voice, whether weaving through slow jams like The Party and the After Party or (relatively) upbeat romps like House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls.
During Wicked Games, the show’s epic peak, arms raising unironic lighters filled the air as his emotion-ravaged voice crooned “Bring your love baby/I can bring my shame/Bring the drugs baby/I can bring my pain” amidst a roiling rhythm and grinding guitar. The sing-alongs turned his abject loneliness into a communal catharsis. But the edge remained, be it the unrelenting dirtiness of Loft Music or the encore cut The Birds (Part 1) which used martial drums and strobe lights to amplify the implied threat: “Don’t make me make you fall in love.”
On new song Rolling Stone, Tesfaye sings “Baby I got you/Until you’re used to my face/And my mystery fades” which could’ve been his career epitaph if he’d faltered here. Until now, the Weeknd has existed as almost a figment of our collective imaginations, his ascent fuelled by anonymity, his communications coming via Twitter and Tumblr, his music existing only as web-distributed ones and zeroes. He could’ve dissipated like a dotcom bubble. But by bringing his aching digi-laments out of the Internet’s shadows and onto the stage, Tesfaye triumphantly proved that the Weeknd has no end in sight.
It’s possible to find joy at work. I can put my heart into my job and come away feeling fulfilled, satisfied, content. I can feel needed, supported, believed in, capable, elevated, and happy. The same goes for school, or my role as a daughter, worship leader, or a friend. Is this satisfaction?
Yes. But its ultimately minuscule.
Any and all of those comforts and achievements are good gifts, but when I lift them up to idolize them they crumble next to the vision of Christ. What is my delight in? Psalm 16 says “at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” What my mentor thinks of me may mean a ton to me. The time I spend with friends, the way people perceive me, how I wish to be treated, what I think I deserve– these can bring great pain or pleasure in my life, especially if I’m too fixated on them.
But the worth of Christ surpasses them all. and its He that I truly should be fixated by. In all my struggles about my identity (is it in school? is it in being a single girl? is it in being an awesome sparkly missionary?), I’ve been shown again and again how littttttle I am, and how Big God is. I need to see his beauty. I need to “meditate on the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works” (psalm 145). Why do the psalms instruct us to meditate on God’s splendor? Because beholding God changes us. Seeing the King in his Beauty is the best thing for our hearts. I spend hecka too much time on the internet, and watching b99 and doing other things. These are not inherently awful, but i would be doing my soul so much more good if I were spending significant–and i mean significant—time reading chunks of the bible. GODS WORD CHANGES THINGS. the holy spirit works through it to change us. “you are what you read”. okay basically I’m just super convicted and thankful to the Lord that he is good and beautiful and he reveals to us what he’s like through accounts of his acts in history and through the person of Christ.