On Stage with The Weeknd: A Look at the Current Touring Rig

Through his special combination of ominous sound design, powerful production, explicit lyrics, and pitch–perfect vocals, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye — better known as The Weeknd — has become a defining figure in the PBR&B movement.

Abel emerged from Toronto’s diverse contemporary music scene, self–releasing three critically acclaimed mixtapes that led to a distribution deal with Republic Records in 2012 for his XO label.

To date, he has released three celebrated full–length efforts, claimed two Grammy Awards, and has even been nominated for an Oscar. Most importantly, The Weeknd continues to evolve as a musician and producer, delighting and captivating his growing audience base.

We at Reverb had a chance to catch up with The Weeknd’s production team for an exclusive look into the technical side of things, from the instruments and processors used on stage to production techniques specific to live performances.

“I have the Roland V-Synth and those are all doing the bass sounds. Then, he has his Roland - GAIA SH-01, Roland - Fantom-G7, Korg KRONOS, Korg MS2000, and the Jupiter 80. Those are doing all the higher–end frequency stuff.” - Kyle Kanzigg, Keyboard/Bass Tech

Roland - Fantom-G7

Roland Jupiter-80 and Roland - GAIA SH-01

Roland - GAIA SH-01


DR Strings creates these custom color packs for us before every tour. I put that together for him and we switch it up every time I change the strings.” - Kyle Kanzigg, Keyboard/Bass Tech

“For his bass pedalboard, it’s tied into an AV switch and one signal chain is just the SansAmp, and the rest is all of his effects going into the DI. He really likes that Microtubes Overdrive.” - Kyle Kanzigg, Keyboard/Bass Tech

Fender Jazz Bass

“It’s got an 8”, 10”, and 12” [toms] and then three snare drums.” - Brad Sanders, Drum Tech

“This 10” snare is real poppy, and then the other 14” snare is tuned very low. It’s more and more evident in pop music. It’s this, 'Here, take a snare drum, make it sound like shit.' But you mic it, throw some reverb on it, it’s got that ‘80s explosive sound.” - Brad Sanders, Drum Tech

"I think the coolest feature is the symmetry of the kit — the electronics on each side. You don’t see that a lot, it’s pretty cool. The rack is pretty neat–o as well. It’s a custom job he had done before I started with him, and I just incorporated some Gibralter stuff on the ends. It’s super solid.” - Brad Sanders, Drum Tech

“We’re doing a lot more with sound design for this tour, as opposed to the last tours, which were much more just straight ahead pedals and basic sounds. We are striving to make it a little bit more sonically interesting.” - Guitar Player Patrick Greenaway

Gibson Flying V and Music Man Albert Lee Signature.

"It’s just Fractal. It’s in Axe FX, so it’s all digital in the box with a foot controller, and I’m about to start adding some of my old gain–staging pedals to get more specific tones.” - Guitar Player Patrick Greenaway

A pair of Fender Hot Rod DeVille Amps.

“It’s basically like one big mixed tape. He barely talks to the audience, he just comes out and plays music from one track to the next. We flip switches on the stage, but he triggers the track order himself, to keep it rolling. It’s 106 separate tracks.” - Eric “Panda” White, Ableton Tech

“He queues them through the stage. We have an audience mic set up and there’s a foot switch that releases the mic that tells me when to start the set. So I can be anywhere in the building and run the show. This triggers the lights and the audio.” - Eric “Panda” White, Ableton Tech

The Weeknd - "Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)"

For more information about The Weeknd, visit the official site.

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