My Halsey love affair came on fast and strong. It was only a matter of time until a friend was posting a link to Secret Sounds’ sideshow lineup on my Facebook page with the caption “BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER” directing me to Halsey’s Badlands Australian tour poster. I set an alarm for 8:55 AM on Tuesday 6th October to nab tickets during the presale. The presale allocation sold out in less than five minutes and the singer booked a second date at The Metro, both shows selling out as soon as the general public could access the sale on Thursday 8th. Suffice it to say the hype was real and catching.
When the day finally came, hordes of people, mostly teenaged women, were lined up around the block (the entire length of the alley, around the corner and around another corner by the time doors opened at 7:30 PM). The first girl in line had allegedly rocked up at 2 AM and spent the whole day hugging the doors of The Metro in anticipation. Fast-forward to over 1000 people somehow piled into the venue, chanting along to the louder-than-usual pre-show playlist of hits by Justin Bieber and The Weeknd, to name a few. The slightest appearance of a roadie on stage set off cheers in the crowd.
Børns took the stage and the cheery electro-pop and dreamy falsetto tracks had everyone dancing and singing along. The opening set was short and sweet – maybe only 7 or 8 tracks? Garrett Borns closed the set by thanking Halsey for having him, stirring up the audience even more.
Precious minutes stood between them and their queen.
The drums were mounted up stage right and the keyboard opposite on the left, both on large platforms and framed by lighting rigs. The stage itself filled up with smoke quickly. When the extended intro to Gasoline began with strong beats and the melody, I won’t lie; you could barely see Halsey enter the stage through the smoke and the lasers that lit up the room. The music was powerful enough to spark up the crowd though; the cheer was perhaps one of the loudest I’ve ever heard.
They blew through six tracks without much preamble. With only one album and the 5 track EP Room 93, including Is There Somewhere in the setlist was rather noteworthy. The audience knew every lyric to every song and it was honestly hard to hear Halsey most of the time, with the exception of a few belted notes or harmonising. When I could hear her, Halsey’s voice was the perfect mix of clear and raw.
Her first little speech was about Badlands: “I want to make an album that people can one hundred percent, unapologetically relate to,” she said. Recorded in a friend’s dorm room and expected to maybe go top 40, it made #2 in Australia without her “ever having set foot in the fucking country!” (Cue loud roar from the audience at that.)
While singing Hurricane, Halsey reminded the audience “You don’t belong to anybody but yourself!” And her final message to the audience was that she was there, watching all of them, just like they were watching her. This was the point in any show where your feet are hurting and you’re thirsty and tired but “you’re alive, you’re so alive!” she shouted from the top of the barricade she’d jumped on.
It was in these moments the lasers disappeared and there was low enough lighting to see her earnest face. As much as I love Halsey, both in general and on this night, the lighting and many tracks cut short made it impossible for me to fully enjoy that show. I imagine her Field Day festival performance might have been more to my liking.
Is There Somewhere
Colors Pt. II
Hold Me Down
View Gwendolyn Lee’s gallery HERE