“I f*cking love being in Chicago,” Halsey said before diving into her “Badlands” hit, “Roman Holiday,” at the Allstate Arena on Nov. 19. “You guys bring some of the best energy a girl could dream of.”
The feeling is, was and always will be mutual as Chicago fans have flocked to see the 23-year-old sing of young love and breakups with power, remorse and a noir edge since her 2015 tour with Imagine Dragons. She made her buzz-worthy Lollapalooza debut on the BMI Stage later that year, and by 2016, she was dominating the festival’s massive Samsung Stage with the confidence and charisma of a seasoned pro.
Halsey’s love affair with Windy City fans was center stage throughout the Chicago stop of her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour as the sold-out crowd sang along with “Eyes Closed” – the first tune of the night – her closer “Hurricane” and every track in between. She spoke of the “honor of watching” fans grow after a stripped down rendition of the Chainsmokers’ collaboration “Closer,” which Chicago pianist Greg Spero helped to transform into an intricate ballad. After provoking dancing throughout every inch of the venue with the introspective hit “Bad at Love,” the electro-pop superstar revealed that Chicago has been by far the loudest crowd of the tour, noting that she’s not a liar who says the same thing in every city.
Arena shows are notorious for featuring the same set list in each city as elaborate production pieces, video accompaniments, pyrotechnics, smoke, wardrobe changes and choreography can go awry with improvisations. Halsey came up with an ideal solution to inject added spontaneity and audience involvement into her performance. VIP fans, who were positioned side stage, had the opportunity to vote for what song they wanted to hear during a special number, and Chicago super-fans chose “Drive.”
Even those with seats in the back of the arena got a front row view of Halsey when she visited a B-Stage for a splashy performance of “Lie” and “Don’t Play” as she and her dancer faced off on a bed of water for a visually stunning interlude. “Angel on Fire,” “Heaven in Hiding” and “Strangers” – dedicated to the LGBT community – were further highlights of her almost two-hour concert.
Halsey told fans that she couldn’t do this tour alone, which is why she recruited PartyNextDoor and Charli XCX to join her on the bill. Backed by a stellar band that incorporated jazzy jams into the Canadian rising-star’s smooth R&B sounds, PartyNextDoor brought his set to a memorable finale with his push-and-pull love song, “Come & See Me.”
Charli XCX knows how to get a party started, and she did just that with a rapid-fire set that opened the night. “I Love It,” “Break the Rules,” “Boys” and “Fancy” proved to be irresistible in the live setting as the British singer stood atop a mirrored platform to lead what soon became an epic dance party. Her closing track “Boom Clap” ensured that the beat would live on and on and on in fans’ memories of a fantastic night of music.
Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour is wrapping up soon with the final date set for Nov. 22 in Cleveland. Head over to IamHalsey.com to stay up to date with the singer-songwriter’s latest news and announcements.