Concert Review WITH PHOTOS: Halsey with special guest Kehlani


By Lisa Diedricks

Artist: Halsey with special guest Kehlani

Date / Venue: Thursday April 19th: Spark Arena, Auckland

I’m trying to start this off the calmest and collected way possible, so here goes.

Last night, Auckland city absorbed the likelihood of none other than the infamous Ashley Frangipani, or better known by her stage name, Halsey

Okay now that we have the formal part out of the way…OMFG WHO EVER WAS NOT AT THE HALSEY SHOW LAST NIGHT, EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE HER MUSIC, YOU MISSED OUT! This incredible specimen of a human proved to everyone why you had to see the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tour up close and personal. The album, which bares the same name as her tour, consisted of more radio friendly tunes in comparison to her earlier works, which was her initial goal, as she wanted to prove that she was capable of providing more radio approved music. Bear that in mind, Halsey did not stray from her roots and performed classic after classic from her previous album and EP, Badlands and Room 43, which was an absolute hit with the crowd, as many there clearly were fans of her since day one.

But before we continue to delve into the magic of the night, let take a moment to appreciate another lady of the night, Kehlani. Many tours have upcoming artists open for their leading frontmen, but in all honesty Kehlani needs a show of her own. I’ve now seen her twice in the last 6 months and I can truly say she has something that no other artist right now has. She brings those 90s vibes and she has the attitude of someone you just want to be friends with. With a voice that resonates with so much more than just the “youth”, her stage presence is one of the most comedic and engaging that I’ve seen in a while.  Her humility towards her fans and the industry as a whole is one of the reason why her music and lyrics are so accepting and loved. With minimal stage production, an MC, a drummer and DJ, she really had the crowd hooked on her performance.  She took the time out to give a shout out to the LGBT community here in NZ, as she herself is a part of and many of her fans respect her for being so open and outspoken about not only being gay but also her sobriety these last few years.  Rocking a new hair-do and a “sophisticated” suit wardrobe, Kehlani was definitely a highlight for everyone in attendance and was a great choice as the opening act for Halsey!

Now getting back into the main reason we are here, Halsey first gained attention from self-released work on social media platforms before being signed by Astralwerks in 2014. Since then, the queen of electropop and synth vocals has toured with the likes of The Kooks, Imagine Dragons, her sexy beau G-Eazy, The Weeknd, and The American Youth Tour, all of which was critically adored by everyone. 

Going into the show, I didn’t have much expectation in lieu of the stage production, as have witnessed before in the likes of other up and coming artists that have toured New Zealand and performed at Spark Arena, that their stage production are not really something to hold your breath for. But DAMN, did she deliver, from screens, silhouettes, fire, fog, confetti, smoke machines, the lsit goes on, she brought it home. I’ve seen a few videos of her previous shows from the tour and was hoping that the production would be the same, but was not holding my breath, so when I saw the screens I immediately got excited! Not saying that the concert would have been any less spectacular, it was having my expectations blown out the water that bumped the night to the 10/10.

Making her way to the stage in a full nude wardrobe, ass out, and a bedazzled ski-mask, yes you heard correct, check the pics if you don’t believe me, she looked so F*^%kn cool and that’s coming from someone who likes simple wardrobe when it comes to a show. She made it cool, which is what she does.  She also only had 2 other changes within the night, both of which were very simple. I must say the entire show was well prepared in terms of intervals and intimate conversations with the audience; we didn’t wait long at all between songs and when she had to nip to the back it was only for a minute or so, so props to the team! Tracks such as “100 letters” “Colors” and “Sorry” hit home for the artist and you could see it in her face and hear it in her runs when she sang.

Her songs come from a personal place and she isn’t afraid to talk about issues that are continuously pressing in today’s society. She opened up about sexual abuse, mental abuse and the gay community through-out the show and took the time to spread her positivity to anyone who needed it. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at just 17 years old, following a suicide attempt that led her to a 17 day recovery at a psychiatric hospital made her very aware of what she wanted to her voice to do, since then she has only used it for positivity and to help spread the word for suicide prevention and is an active member for the advocacy.

For anyone that has been a fan of Halsey since her EP days (me, 100% me) you can see how much she has grown in terms of her lyrical creativity and her confidence on stage. Last night a perfect example of witnessing confidence on stage being a process, as in the beginning of her set, she did seem a bit stiff and weary about the crowds precipitance of the opening of the show. But as the show went on, that girl went all out and gave it her all and fed off the crowds energy and love for her. As this was only her second time here in NZ, first time being 5 years ago in Christchurch, the headlining tour was something she had been anticipating a long time.

It was definitely the little things that made the night for me, her dad jokes, her wardrobe, the covers she did (Closer and Him& I) which I thought should have been the originals, and when she turned the camera and mic on her dad that was front and center supporting his girl! All in all it was the perfect night and I encourage anyone to go see a show of hers if you ever get the chance, she doesn’t just bring incredible vocals she brings a rare package of authenticity, flare and humility, which is something touring needs more of these days.