The Weeknd – After Hours Til Dawn Tour

  • Multiple Locations

Solotech has a lengthy history with The Weeknd, having worked with the artist leading up to and during 2017’s Starboy – Legend of the Fall Tour.

One of the world’s most popular and best-selling artists, The Weeknd counts six No.1 hits and 16 Top-10 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts. For the tour supporting his 2022 record, Dawn FM, fans – deprived of live concerts during the pandemic – expected something spectacular.

They weren’t disappointed. Originally conceived as an arena tour and scheduled for 2020, the show’s scope grew dramatically as the pandemic dragged on, becoming a stadium production requiring almost unprecedented amounts of technology, including a massive lighting and video rig supplied by Solotech.

It’s one of the largest tours Solotech’s ever put on the road; likely one of the largest ever toured in terms of counts of LED tiles and fixtures.

– Robert Kennedy, Solotech Account Executive
Delve into industry best practices
* indicates required

Getting on the board early in the game

For a tour as massive as After Hours Til Dawn, it was critical that everyone worked closely from the outset to achieve The Weeknd and his team’s vision.

Solotech began demoing technology in 2019 in Los Angeles and discussed options with Lighting Designer Jason Baeri, Screens Producer Loren Barton, and the core creative team, including Production Designer Es Devlin, Creative Director La Mar Taylor, and The Weeknd himself. “We were invited to work with them early in the design process, as we often are,” Kennedy explains. “It was highly collaborative, and they were very open to suggestions on leveraging new technology to realize their ambition.”

I can’t say enough good things about Solotech’s team. This tour was a monster for scale and infrastructure. Solotech was there with us every step of the way; gear shootouts, additions, changes; they made everything happen without skipping a beat.

– Jason Baeri, Lighting Designer

A challenging environment

Ongoing supply chain issues and the outdoor setting presented challenges: the LED elements had to be IP-rated and possess the physical integrity to withstand wind, and all the technology had to be well suited to wide-ranging, often extreme, environmental factors. “In Arizona and the southwest, it can reach 110 degrees. But they were moving between wet and cold to very hot areas, further narrowing down the products that could be utilized,” Kennedy notes.

The size of Solotech’s team and their wealth of experience working with artists like Harry Styles, P!NK, and others allowed them to surmount those challenges handily, as did their global reach, which was crucial to sourcing/supplying gear, ensuring it could be integrated seamlessly and arrived well ahead the tour’s July 2022 start date.

Those benefits were evident before and during After Hours Til Dawn: “As this morphed from an ambitious arena design through different iterations of the stadium format, having Solotech to bounce ideas off and fine-tune our system/camera needs streamlined the design process,” Barton says. “The vendor relationship is key to getting ahead of inevitable curve balls. Solotech anticipated and planned for those, so by getting them involved from the start, we could present options to the rest of the design team and make decisions that saved time down the road.”

Solotech was fantastic; one of the best crews I’ve ever had. Rob was always on top of everything and made sure we had all the gear we needed without any hitches.

– Jason Baeri, Lighting Designer

Nimble, responsive, and cutting edge

Given the amount of equipment and scope of the show, Solotech went to where the technicians and gear were – prepping servers, cameras, and lighting in Montreal, the LED package in Nashville, and doing additional preparation in Las Vegas.

“The core creative group always makes final decisions. And we’re always ready to assist. But we have to let the ‘creatives’ be creative,” Kennedy says. “Part of that is refining and finessing the show. You have to be nimble enough to deal with that as a supplier, or you’re not fully supporting the project’s creative vision.”

You can’t design a tour in a vacuum. You’re designing with intent and intention, and you achieve that with the equipment you use to tell stories. Having a supplier that provides and discovers what gear is right for you is the greatest gift you could ask for. Solotech really took time with us to find the right equipment while we were figuring out what the show was. It was something else.

– Jason Baeri, Lighting Designer

Ultimately, it was a perfect match. “The Weeknd’s team focuses on what’s cutting edge and how they can break the mold, and we’re a company that invests in leading-edge technology,” Kennedy says. At the core, however, the success of a partnership like this is built on human resources, something Solotech invests in as heavily as technology – enabling the company to provide support well beyond the provision of advice and equipment. “Our technical advisors worldwide, our logistics people who deal with customs, border crossings and importation/exportation of equipment, our warehouse staff who package the equipment,” Kennedy concludes. “Everyone at Solotech contributes to getting and keeping a tour moving.”

“Tours like this don’t happen without a dedicated team, and Solotech has one of the best in the business.”

– Loren Barton, Screens Producer