While not adding to any of the narratives in the several music videos from the album, the live performances are a careful extension of this world.
“It was important to create this environment in this world within our performances that, in some ways, entrapped this character and, in some ways, presented this world and the songs in a way that felt odd and unsettling,” director Micah Bickham said. “We never wanted anything to feel or look or be fun, if that makes sense, but wanted it to have this air of intrigue and mystique and oddity to it.”
Photographer on set Lauren Dunn said the sets look “felt connected, but separate from The Weeknd’s short film for the album.” For example, there’s a subway scene in the “After Hours” video, and Dunn said “[the set] felt like a subway without the train. It's sort of like the tile, the colors, the grit of a subway station, but without the subway.”
All three performances were shot in six hours, including changeovers of sets, equipment, and camera capture methods (all performances were shot on film, by the way). All done in single takes.
One run-through to show The Weeknd blocking, one for rehearsal and two actual takes per song.
This is best seen in “In Your Eyes” which features saxophonist Kenny G. Both artists perform while running between three sets. Impressively, the final video is all one take. A smaller version of the full sized set and a miniature were created to achieve the trippy effect of switching between the three.
For the trilogy’s finale, The Weeknd performs "Faith" standing in the middle of the white-tiled room in isolation. During the second verse, blood pours out of wall vents and drips down; this moment of the song was meant to be emphasized, Walker reveals, with the blood acting as a visual metaphor for how The Weeknd is feeling. “There were six stepladders behind the set with one person up each set of ladders, and a rigged system of trays full of blood that was tipped up at a certain point,” said Walker. “We had no ability to rehearse this, and we only had one go at doing it. That was the very last thing we did.”
While planning the trilogy of official live performances, Vevo’s creative team worked to capture the most aesthetically engaging elements of a live tour while also implementing the cinematic elements of a professional music video.
“Music videos are usually only done for singles, so you’re not seeing visual representation for a lot of the other tracks on the album that may be a fan’s favorite”, says JP Evangelista, SVP Content, Programming & Marketing.
“Even when the concert industry comes back, live performance videos like these are here to stay and are an effective way for artists to create official videos that extend the theme of an album.”
AFTER HOURS rly was one of the best albums of 2020. I loved “Alone Again” as is, but I now prefer this live version. The vocals get processed & buried in the mix on the album for effect, but here it’s out in full force.
Also, “Faith” was usually a track I skipped over, but this vid made me love it. It’s all bout the build up to the ending!
*Mods: While these premiered at the end of November, a post was never made for it, and I’m also framing it with behind the scenes deets & pics*
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