The Weeknd Closes Out Coachella With Hit-Filled, Tag-Team Set With Swedish House Mafia

·4-min read

As if it didn’t take long enough to get to the 21st installment of Coachella — what with a pandemic, four postponements and yet another recent Covid spike — when original Sunday headliner Kanye West pulled out two weeks ago, Swedish House Mafia had to transform their vaguely defined position on the lineup into a headlining set. In short order the Weeknd — who is still deep in work on his HBO series “The Idol,” which he cowrote, coproduced and stars in — agreed to bump up his previously planned brief appearance with the EDM titans to a co-headlining spot with them, but he had just two weeks to pull together a set. Yet the man otherwise known as Abel Tesfaye is nothing if not up for a challenge, and he did not disappoint during the tag-team, co-headlining, festival-closing set late Sunday night (actually Monday morning).

Billed as “Swedish House Mafia x the Weeknd,” the set was essentially split into two halves, with the former opening and roaring through a tight set of their own hits, then performing briefly with the Weeknd for a couple of the recent songs they’ve released together, then ceding the stage to him for a tight megamix of his songs, ranging from global smashes like “Blinding Lights,” “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “Starboy” to his verses on high-profile collabs with Kanye West, Drake, Future and Ty Dolla $ign (who were not present), “Hurricane,” “Crew Love,” “Low Life” and “Or Nah,” respectively.

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Steve Angello, from left, Axwell, and Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia perform at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Steve Angello, from left, Axwell, and Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia perform at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Performing under a giant open circle that resembled something out of “Independence Day,” Swedish House Mafia opened the set with a powerful mix of their hits, accompanied by giant washes of white light, fog and spotlights. The trio’s Axwell paraphrased Jay-Z, yelling “Please allow us to reintroduce ourselves!” and then did just that as the three bobbed from behind a giant DJ deck, pausing occasionally for exhortations like “Coachella! We are Swedish House Mafia!,” “Coachella! Are you ready?” and “Coachella! Make some noise!”

After around 50 minutes, the beat changed up, a single sample of the Weeknd’s voice saying simply “ah” was worked into the mix, and he emerged on a riser in the center of the giant circle, singing the remix of “Sacrifice” before segueing into “How Do I Make You Love Me?”

Clad in a black T-shirt, military style vest and loose pants and boots, the Weeknd then roared through a rousing megamix of songs that made one realize just how many hits he’s had (his setlist appears below) as Swedish House Mafia vacated the stage.

. - Credit: Courtesy YouTube
. - Credit: Courtesy YouTube

Courtesy YouTube

The Weeknd spent much of the set singing from the walkways that stretched into the crowd. actually singing many of the requisite “Coachella!”s and “How you doin’ over here?”s and “I can’t hear you!”s, rather than the usual shouting that we’d heard hundreds of times by the end of the long, livestreamed weekend.

He even changed up the lyrics to his 2016 track “Party Monster” to reference Anitta’s booty-licious Coachella set on Friday, singing “Ass shaped like Anitta’s.”

At mid-set he yelled “We’re just getting started!” (prompting at least one comical reaction on the East Coast):

He led singalongs on “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “Blinding Lights,” dipped back into his catalog for “The Hills,” shouted “It took a long time but we’re finally here — we made it!” and may have been referencing his late addition to the lineup by saying, “Coachella! I’m always here for you, I’ve got your back.”

. - Credit: Courtesy YouTube
. - Credit: Courtesy YouTube

Courtesy YouTube

After capping his solo set with with “I Feel It Coming” into “Save Your Tears,” he returned to the main stage and Swedish House Mafia were back behind the decks for the closing “Moth to a Flame” — their collaboration from SHM’s new album “Paradise Again” — and with that, at around 2 a.m. local time, 5 a.m. Eastern. And they’ll do it all again for Coachella’s 2022 part 2, next weekend …

. - Credit: Courtesy YouTube
. - Credit: Courtesy YouTube

Courtesy YouTube

Sacrifice
How Do I Make You Love Me
Can’t Feel My Face
Blinding Lights
Hurricane
The Hills
Party Monster
Heartless
Low Life
Or Nah
Often
Crew Love
Starboy
Out of Time
I Feel It Coming
Save Your Tears
Moth to a Flame

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