Review: Halsey Gives Minneapolis A Nightmare at The Armory
The singer held a free concert in celebration of her new single “Nightmare,” released last Friday.
Halsey loves her fans. The artist flew in to Minneapolis for a special 16-song show at The Armory, in celebration of her new single, “Nightmare.” Tickets were free, and sold out quickly online. Fans redeemed their reserved wristbands Sunday night and all day Monday before the show.
The concert began with an array of lighting effects before she jumped on stage and greeted the crowd with BADLANDS single “Castle.” Wearing a long red wig, open red flannel shirt, a white tank top and black leather pants with sewn-on patches, the singer quickly strut around the theatre-in-the-round style square stage as her audience sang along to every word. When the first chorus hit, she asked them to jump — they did, and it shook the venue. It was a riotous start to a wild, yet surprisingly intimate evening.
Her new single “Nightmare” was performed, but she asked the crowd for a favor first; everyone able knelt down to the floor, and popped up at once when the song began. Huge explosions went off during the song, bringing an already lit audience to the next level. It was a perfectly fitting first performance of the no holds barred pop-rock anthem, only released a few days prior. Later on in the night, she repeated the performance with the same audience participation and special effects, likely to capture different camera angles.
“A lot of people asked me why I wanted to do this show in Minneapolis,” Halsey said. “You guys are so loud, I can’t even hear myself,” she explained. Talks like this made the evening feel like a modern version of VH1 Storytellers. Halsey took frequent breaks between songs to discuss their meanings and society in general.
She encouraged "young ladies” in the audience, along with “men supporting them,” to amplify female voices now more than ever. That set the tone for “Don’t Play,” a hip-hop infused stomper warning men not to mess with women. She led the audience in a chant along of “women, don’t play no games” during the song’s outro.
Halsey then paused to ask, “Have you ever had your heart broken before, but you’re out here doing the damn thing everyday?” It was a fitting introduction to “Bad At Love,” a big radio hit which had the audience singing along so loud she had to restart it. “Stop the track… you guys are so fucking loud I literally can’t hear anything in my ears. I’m going to do it right for you guys.” She did, and the result was an impressive vocal that outshined the studio version. “Trust me, this is a good problem to have.”
Despite originally being billed as a phone-free show, Halsey relaxed the rule on faith that the crowd would keep their phones hidden. They did. The audience was completely engaged the entire night, especially during epic singalongs like “Bad At Love.” As a reward, Halsey promised she would make eye contact with every single audience member before it was over.
Before playing her #1 hit “Without Me,” she hinted at the elephant in the room. She referenced TMZ, the publication who had reported that her ex-boyfriend G-Eazy cheated on her — in Minneapolis. She said she chose the city for this concert to “make a new memory,” and to think of this night every time she sings the song going forward.
The show had some interesting technical moments. During “Hurricane,” Halsey mouthed something to the soundboard across the venue. Throughout the night she also spoke into a couple microphones that were inaudible to the audience, but were assumably audible to soundboard personnel. She explained that she only came up with the idea for the show a week ago. That’s probably why it felt so raw at times.
With back-to-back performances of BADLANDS favorites “Drive,” “Colors,” “Roman Holiday,” and “Gasoline,” it became apparent the setlist was mainly focused on the debut album. The setlist also left out big hits like “Now or Never,” and collaborations “Closer,” “Him & I” and “Eastside.” Halsey explained that she picked songs that reminded her the most of her connection her fans. It felt like a full circle career moment for an artist celebrating beginnings — both old and new.
What’s your favorite Halsey song? Tweet me: @DerekPlease