"This is the biggest party in Vegas right now,” yells Abel Tesfaye, better known by his adoring fans as R&B superstar The Weeknd. It’s the first Saturday of the new year, and Drai’s is pulsing with excitement. The smooth-talking singer is in a denim jacket and black jeans, his signature dreads piled atop his head, while red and yellow lights bounce off the dozens of disco balls above the Drai’s Live stage.
The Weeknd launches into “Tell Your Friends,” and dollar bills rain from the sky as everyone on the floor scurries to collect cash being skewered under pointy stilettos. During “Acquainted” and “Often,” I make my way to the patio to get a good glimpse of the larger-than-life crowd, a sea of glowsticks bobbing in the dark. “2015 was amazing because of my fans,” Tesfaye says before launching into chart-topper “Can’t Feel My Face.”
Nearing 2:15 a.m., The Weeknd closes with “In the Night,” but not before the crowd gets showered with green one last time. I watch as bills fall, thinking this is exactly what Vegas is known for—sex, money and decadence.