While outdoor concerts and medium-sized tours have more or less returned after 18 months of pandemic shutdown, the bread and butter of the concert industry — the arena tour — has been slowest to come back. The Weeknd’s “After Hours” tour, which was originally scheduled to launch in June of 2020, was to relaunch in January of next year.
But owing to several factors, the trek has been escalated to a stadium tour and bumped to the summer of 2022, with dates to be announced in the coming weeks. The general itinerary has also been updated to include North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.
“The ‘After Hours’ tour dates are moving and will commence in the summer of 2022 due to constraints of arenas and the desire to do something bigger and special for fans that will require stadiums,” the artist announced in a statement on social media Monday.
“New dates forthcoming. Current tickets will be refunded automatically and all ticketholders will be given priority to buy tickets for the stadium shows when they go on sale,”
The purpose of the move may be twofold: First, as stated, the tour has been rebranded — it is now called “After Hours ’til the Dawn,” reflecting the theme and perhaps the title of his forthcoming new album, which he exclusively tipped to Variety earlier this year — and, after his eye-popping halftime performance at the Super Bowl in February, the Weeknd has proven that he can stage a stadium-sized show. He released a new single titled “Take My Breath” in August; there’s also a snippet of a different new song in a follow-up Instagram post — hear it below.
But also, the ongoing pandemic and the inconsistency of social-distancing precautions across North America has made the return of arena tours a significant challenge, although several such tours are taking place at the moment. Moving the dates to next summer not only allows for the Weeknd to stage a bigger show, holding the concerts in the open air alleviates many concerns about mass gatherings.
Variety will have more on this situation as it develops.