Passage: A Concert Of Note

Concert review: Racy lyrics, images and emotions run rampant as the Weeknd performs in Dallas

. ONE note, to be exact. It was the New York premiere of the “Monotone-Silence Symphony.” Conceived by the late French artist Yves Klein (1928-1962), the symphony requires 70 musicians and singers to take turns hold a single sound for TWENTY minutes, followed by another twenty minutes of DEAD SILENCE. The piece was performed just once in Klein’s own lifetime, in Paris in 1960, accompanied by three nude models smearing themselves with Klein’s signature blue paint. New York art gallery owner Dominique Levy was the moving force behind this past week’s performance: “I thought that was the craziest and most unreasonable thing to ever do,” Levy said. “How can you expect people to even bear 20 minutes of one note and 20 minutes of silence? And then I was lucky enough to experience it approximately, I think, ten years ago. And it was a life-changing experience.” Life-changing enough that she organized the concert to coincide with an exhibition of Klein’s paintings and sculptures — most of them blue. “If you think about it, it’s one single tone,’ Levy said. “And he works in monochromatic color, one single color.” And so to Wednesday night’s performance in a Manhattan church (minus the distraction of the three nude models in blue). Together, the voices and instruments had a mesmerizing effect over time. To listen to Yves Klein’s “Monotone-Silence Symphony,” click on the audio player.

But this is what it means to be enveloped by Tesfayes shadowed underworld of drug-fueled nights in the bedroom: Emotions ran rampant as he led the audience through his painful journey. Tesfayes racy lyrics and gorgeously spiraling vocals are his therapy; he works through the grief by letting his escapades free. His shaky but confident vocals resembled Michael Jacksons famous falsetto, and the single Belong to The World carried an incessant beat that stomped all over his pillowed vocals. At times his softer words sank beneath the dominant percussion. The minimal backdrop gave Tesfaye the floor instead of distracting the spellbound fans. The forthright track What You Need was sung alongside a lone guitar much like a poet and his mike. He worked the crowd with pickup lines, spewing lyrics with emphasis or crooning through melting choruses in a sweet falsetto during more tender moments. Jumping between Kiss Land, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts its first week, and 2012s Trilogy, The Weeknd offered up explicit confessions of frenzied rendezvous. Tesfayes excited outburst, I wanna do sexy things on top of you, Dallas! was followed by the pounding percussive number House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls. The audience followed him all night with no reluctance. A sea of lighters and phones lit up the dim theater for Wicked Games, bringing warmth to the lonely single that helped the star break out in 2010.