The Weeknd Lights up Los Angeles With Fireworks for American Music Awards Performance

Jem Aswad
·2 min read

The Weeknd literally lit up Los Angeles with his American Music Awards performance, setting a new standard for the how-to-get-creative-with-social-distancing-during-an-awards show.

Playing a pyro-loaded medley of “Your Eyes” and “Save Your Tears,” the performance started off with a solo from superstar saxist Kenny G — who performs on the song’s remix — before cutting to The Weeknd, dressed as the red-suited, busted-nose character featured in the artwork, videos and TV appearances around his blockbuster latest album “After Hours.”

On “SNL,” “Jimmy Kimmel” and other TV spots, The Weeknd has attempted to break down the proverbial fourth wall by bringing the character and the storyline into those shows — and it continued with this performance: Rather than just having a bandage on his nose, like he has in most of those spots, his entire head was swathed bandages for this one, causing more than a little confusion on social media from fans who hadn’t been fully following the surreal storyline that’s evolved over the course of the videos (head here and here and here for more details on all that.)

One fan on Twitter surely knew the backstory: @lolwatjustin tweeted, “is The Weeknd gonna be in a full body cast by the time we get to he Grammys??”

Not that you needed to know the storyline to be dazzled by the performance: After Kenny G’s intro, the camera followed The Weeknd walking down a bridge across the Los Angeles River as a series of fireworks and pyrotechnics exploded along the way. It was a masterful feat of timing, camerawork and, needless to say, pyrotechnical expertise: Even if they nailed the performance in one take, it expended a Fourth of July’s worth of pyro in about five minutes.

He had the bandages on while accepting his award for Best R&B Album as well, during which he recalled accepting the award from Prince the last time he won it, and dedicating this new award to him.

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