If you don't know, I'm a big Halestorm fan. They're one of the few rock bands that I listen to regularly and have probably the best frontwoman ever, Lzzy Hale, who is absolutely amazing. There's just something about their sound that really clicks with me, the way Lizzy grabs your attention with her no-nonsense voice, how the lyrics of whatever song of theirs you're listening to resonate and actually mean something... it all coalesces into a great experience, and that's just on the CD (or on your phone, if you're like me). But to see them live is a totally different story, as it often is with any band. I don't go to a lot of live stuff, rock concerts I mean. I go to symphonies and classical stuff all the time, but tonight was only my second foray into hard rock live concerts, and so I'm coming at this whole thing from an extremely limited perspective.
I have a bit of hearing loss right now because I foolishly didn't think to wear earplugs, but it doesn't really matter because fucking hell, tonight was an experience that I won't soon forget! Lzzy has great stage presence, and it really feels like she's giving it her all, even on a night like tonight where it was plain to see that the technical side of things was... well, frankly shit, as they had us standing and waiting for an hour after opening the doors while they sorted everything out, and when the band finally did come on (no pre-show acts, thank god), the tech was still a bit finicky. They made the most of it though, and with my eardrums blasted out, it didn't make much difference to me!
The first thing I noted about this experience (besides how crap the venue treated both us and the band), was how down-to-earth the band members were, engaging and interacting with the audience in a way that was more than just a token's sentiment. In fact I'd say that "authentic" is the name of the game when it came to tonight, as Lzzy graciously let her fellow band members each have a turn to shine, and all of the acts lasted more than a minute! Lzzy herself was no slouch either; after a few shaky starts here, she found her stride and totally owned it through and through! Her powerful voice and bitchin' attitude totally carried over to the live stage in a great way too; she just grabbed hold of the audience and didn't ever let go when she was performing! And she's a sick guitarist! Her energy made this night awesome and as soon as she waltzed on stage and started singing, my face just lit up, because here I was seeing her live in concert and like, that's just so cool!!!
While my first live non-classical concert was back in 2012 with Lindsey Stirling, which also luckily had me as a VIP visitor, this one had me up in the second row behind two giant guys who sadly obstructed my view for a good portion of the concert, and that could potentially be a negative, but it honestly didn't bother me a whole lot because there was so much going on just in the atmosphere alone to keep my attention. And while the crowd up in front was a bit rude, videotaping the whole thing instead of actually immersing themselves in the experience, everyone else was laughing and clapping and cheering and singing along in a way that wasn't obnoxious as these things can sometimes seem. It was just a great atmosphere and a pretty good crowd.
The set list was mostly stuff from Halestorm's newest album which I think is their strongest one to date. They've only done three, and like any good band, the keep improving with each release in my opinion. Into the Wild has some awesome tracks, and they thankfully played a good portion of my favorites, including "Dear Daughter", "Apocalyptic", "Sick Individual"- my personal favorite. In total, they played about two thirds of the album, including "Bad Girls World", "Scream", "I am the Fire", and "New Modern Love". They also had an awesome rendition of "Freak Like Me" and "Mz. Hyde", and for an encore they played "Here's to Us", and "I Miss the Misery"! So yeah, a pretty kick-ass set list (and apologies if I'm forgetting anything; it's all a bit of a blur with vivid bits sticking out if that makes sense). While my ears compensated for the loudness of the concert (not helped by those damn technical difficulties), my brain and my inner fan were just in overdrive with how awesome this whole thing was. Lzzy's hard rock attitude was also balanced out by how visibly happy and bubbly she was with the audience too! It never felt like she was trying to be edgy or whatever; her entire performance was genuine and so clear in its agenda of just saying "fuck it" and having a good time!
I went with a good friend of mine which made the experience all the sweeter because he's actually been to several rock concerts, so he kinda knew what was going on and warned me about all the tropes and such beforehand, so thanks buddy! We had quite a lively conversation after the show about how awesome the band was, so that was fun as well. Having a friend with you when you go to one of these things is really the way to go I think; it's like going to the movies with friends, except better because it's FREAKING HALESTORM, MAN!!!!!
Was this concert better than seeing Lindsey live? Well, Lindsey was my first concert, and she really was my first musical idol, so on a sentimental level, I'd say no. And really the two experiences are totally different from each other anyway, so I don't think it's really fair to compare them. However, I will say that there was a lot more going on at this concert than the Lindsey one. Anyway, this whole thing was just a memory-maker for me. It really was something special; seeing Halestorm live has always been a dream of mine ever since I first became a fan, and so naturally this experience was a real win for me! A truly epically fun night was had by all, I think, and this is one that I'll certainly cherish for a good long time!
As I said, I was behind two giant people who were really tall and obstructed a good portion of my viewing space, but even so I did manage to get a few shots! (No video sadly, as I didn't trust myself to hold the phone up above my head and film without dropping it.)