It’s hard to have a massive show on a Sunday night, but Halsey did just that on the Sunday before Thanksgiving break. Because her audience includes a ton of younger teenagers, it was nice to see young girls and their parents at the Allstate Arena together (although the parents look less excited for the evening ahead than their kids). The 23-year old pop star has really only been a big name for a little over a year now following commercial success with “Closer“, her collaborative single with The Chainsmokers. The song has over 1 billion views on YouTube, which made both Halsey and The Chainsmokers massive stars. Since then, Halsey’s solo career has skyrocketed, and she’s moved up from mid-sized venues to national festivals like Lollapalooza and arena tours.
Halsey at Allstate Arena, 11.19.17
For her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour, she brought and PartyNextDoor (PND) along as her main opener. The 32-year old hip hop artist has been blowing up since the release of his studio album PartyNextDoor2 in 2014, which topped the U.S. R&B Billboard charts. His soulful style and sexy lyrics have made him a favorite among younger women (and his collaborations with Drake haven’t hurt either). It was a bit weird to hear these sultry songs in a crowd of 13 and 14-year old girls, though. PartyNextDoor had music videos playing in the background of strippers and women in bikinis, and it felt a little awkward to be sitting in the crowd with said teens’ parents. There wasn’t anything terribly racy though, so no harm done. PND was a great opener for Halsey and was often more engaging than the main act of the night.
PartyNextDoor at Allstate Arena, 11.19.17
Halsey’s stage production was both exciting and slightly confusing. Before she came out, a huge white sheet covered the stage from top to bottom, making a big white box that her silhouette could be projected onto. This only lasted for a few bars of her fist song, “Eyes Closed”, before it cascaded upwards and revealed a massive set of stairs. For a pop concert, there wasn’t as much energy as I was expecting. Halsey’s few backup dancers carried her in terms of movement and excitement, and the pop star didn’t interact with the audience too much. She offered a few generic “let’s go Chicago!” cheers once in a while, but there weren’t many personal moments between her and the crowd.
One of the highlights came from Halsey’s stripped-down version of “Closer”, which showcased the singer’s bright and chirpy voice really well. Her vocals were definitely on point for this show, even if her energy felt a bit off. As a fledgling star whose still learning the ropes, Halsey’s first arena tour was impressive. It will be exciting to see what she does next, as her fame is just beginning and will certainly only get bigger from here.