Halsey at Hammersmith Apollo
Halsey needs no introduction: she is one of the biggest American popstars on the scene today. Playing the first of two sold-out Hopeless Fountain Kingdom shows at Hammersmith Apollo, the Grammy Award-nominated singer is back after two years with an explosive show that’s worth the wait.
Appearing behind a softly billowing sheet following the original verse from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the artist starts dancing, dry ice capturing her swagger. Eyes Closed (Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, 2018) sees smoky effects flowing over stage steps, while Gasoline (Badlands, 2015) is punchy, bursts of fire exploding as Halsey powerfully kicks the air. For Castle, the New Jersey performer is joined by her tour dancer, Teetee, who puts just as much energy and wow-factor into the set, the stage a fiery expanse of red and orange, while bonus track Heaven in Hiding is another hit with the audience, as the vocalist sings “I can put on a show.” She sure can.
An advocate for social and gender rights, the artist’s use of visuals perfectly complements her reputation, with straight and same-sex couples kissing on screen, the words “send love” displayed during Strangers. The singer’s versatility is evident and she is a natural on stage; though she delves into long sentimental speeches at times, showing her honest and awkward side and even going as far as to make fun of her obnoxious stage voice, she creates very strong pop tunes and performs them with ease.
Hurricane is transformed by the incredible stage design, neon lightning striking through the stage steps, the vocalist exclaiming, “London, this is a reminder you don’t belong to anyone but yourself” as she disappears for a costume change.
Highlight Don’t Play is as edgy as most of Halsey’s material, glitch synthesisers and vocals reminiscent of 90s bands such as TLC and Destiny’s Child, while the tabla sounds of 100 Letters fit perfectly with the venue’s acoustics. As a fusion of voices intermingle, climaxing into white noise, the singer appears again with Teetee, both dancing in a pool of water and performing Colours Part II with glittered facemasks, while Colours is accompanied by visuals of people using recreational drugs, perhaps not the best example for her young audience.
The performer tends to humblebrag a little, showing her age, but the adoring fans are only too pleased to listen. The song that really shot the artist to fame, The Chainsmokers’ Closer – on which she featured – is a stripped-back version, a romantic rendition of a fan favourite. Showing gratitude to her drummer and synth player, the vocalist performs new single Alone and latest track Eastside. She welcomes ardent fans on stage during the encore to sing Is There Somewhere (Room 93, 2014), a kind gesture and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the admirers. Halsey finishes off with Bad At Love, confetti bursting everywhere, a perfect end to a show-stopping performance.
For further information and future events visit Halsey’s website here.
Watch the video for Eastside here: