The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, was only three and a half songs and about 15 minutes into his second sold-out night at Los Angeles’s SoFi Stadium Saturday evening, when he suddenly stopped the show around 9:40 p.m.
Citing vocal problems, the 32-year-old superstar tearfully apologized to the 70,000 bewildered and disappointed fans in attendance for not being able to put on “the concert I want to give you right now,” before anticlimactically exiting the stage.
Tesfaye had just kicked off what had promised to be an electrifying, 29-song set with the Dawn FM tracks “Gasoline,” “Sacrifice,” and “How Do I Make You Love Me?” when he halted “Can’t Feel My Face” to hoarsely address the audience.
The Weeknd had to cancel his second LA concert because he began to lose his voice. pic.twitter.com/cW484YkZXz
— Pop Base (@PopBase) September 4, 2022
I personally want to apologize to you guys. I don’t know what just happened when I screamed, but I just lost my voice,” the Weeknd explained. “This is killing me. I don’t want to stop the show. But I can’t give you the concert I want to give you right now. I’m going make sure everybody’s good — get your money back — but I’ll do a show real soon for you guys. But I wanted to come out and personally apologize, and not tweet it or Instagram it or whatever. But I want you guys to know that I can’t give you what I want to give you. … I’m so sorry. I love you guys. Thank you so much.”
Tesfaye did in fact later take to social media to apologize again, posting: “My voice went out during the first song and I’m devastated. Felt it go and my heart dropped. My deepest apologies to my fans here. I promise I’ll make it up to you with a new date.”
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) September 4, 2022
There was a delayed reaction throughout the venue after the Weeknd made this shocking announcement, as some fans even wondered if it was all part of Tesfaye’s act. Before the concert had started, actress Lily-Rose Depp, Tesfaye’s co-star in his upcoming HBO Max series The Idol, had shot a scene for The Idol onstage at SoFi, appearing in character as she spoke about having “a tough year” and referring to Tesfaye’s The Idol character, Tedros, as the “love of my life.”
However, once the stadium’s house lights came on about two minutes after Tesfaye’s emotional apology, it became clear that this was not a fictional dramatic scene, and that the Weeknd really was canceling the evening’s concert.
This is not the first time in recent memory that the Weeknd has pulled the plug on a concert date. His tour was originally set to kick off, on a smaller scale, in January 2022, but in October 2021 he announced, “Due to constraints of arenas and the demand for more shows I want to do something bigger and special for you which requires stadiums.” After pushing the entire tour back to summer 2022 so he could retool and expand his vision, the supersized “After Hours Til Dawn” stadium trek was then supposed to begin July 8 in Tesfaye’s hometown of Toronto. However, that opening night was postponed at the last minute due to a wireless network outage at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The Toronto show was later rescheduled for Sept. 22, with a second night added for Sept. 23.
At press time, a spokesperson for SoFi Stadium did not have information regarding a makeup date for Saturday’s Los Angeles show, and could not confirm rumors — sparked by a video tweet from a fan with the handle @angelhoeface666 — that Kanye West was on standby at SoFi and had planned to join Tesfaye onstage Saturday, presumably to perform their Grammy-winning duet “Hurricane.”