The big Long Island news this week concerning "The Weeknd" was that his scheduled appearance at UBS Arena on April 7, 2022, marks the first concert to be announced for the Islanders’ new venue.
"No way," Islanders forward Mathew Barzal said when informed by a reporter. "I didn’t know that. That is sweet. I love his music. I just love the pace of his music. He’s got some great songs. I’ll definitely be there if we’re in town and we’ve got the day off. That would be a fun one."
First, though, The Weeknd has an even more visible gig on tap. He will perform the halftime show at Super Bowl LV, becoming the first Canadian ever to headline the show solo.
He held a news conference in Tampa on Thursday that he noted was "kind of empty" because of COVID-19 restrictions, but he fielded questions virtually for about 10 minutes.
The Weeknd said his favorite all-time halftime show was Diana Ross in Tempe, Arizona, in 1996.
"I mean, she’s just so glamorous, and the show just makes me smile," he said. "She has a great exit with the helicopter. She lands in the middle of the field, grabs onto it and flies out into the clouds. I wish I could have done that. I wish I’d thought of it, to be honest."
When an NFL official suggested there still is time to do that himself, he said, "I don’t think I have enough money to do it, to be honest."
Because of COVID protocols, he said his stage was built within the seating area rather than on the field. Only about 22,500 fans will be allowed into the game, leaving extra room.
"We’re also using the field as well," he said, "but we wanted to do something we’ve never done before and so we built a stage in the stadium."
Raymond James Stadium’s "iconic" pirate ship will be incorporated into the show, he said.
The Weeknd said he would tone down some elements his usual act for the theoretically family friendly vibe of the big game.
"Yeah, for sure," he said. "I definitely want to be respectful to the viewers at home . . . The story will continue, but definitely we’ll keep it PG for the families."