October 24th, 2015 at the House of Blues Boston


One year ago yesterday on October 27th, 2014, Ashley Frangipane released her first EP under the stage name of Halsey at 20 years old, and the events that followed have been incredible. She has culminated a rabid fan following that can widely be attributed to the internet. She has 878k followers on twitter and thousands on Tumblr, where she spends a great deal of time interacting with her fans. Before Badlands, her debut album, was released on August 28th, 2015, that majority of her fans already knew the bulk of the tracks from watching all of her concerts, either by attending them or on YouTube, where she had performed most of her songs long before her album had even been announced. Once this highly anticipated album was finally released, it snatched the #1 Alternative Album and #2 Album Overall on iTunes. There were also 5 songs in the iTunes Top 20 Alternative Songs. Badlands charted at #2 on Billboard 200 with 115,000 album sales and the second highest debut for a female artist in 2015. Elsewhere, the album debuted at number two in Australia, number three in New Zealand and Ireland, number five in the Netherlands and reached the top 10 in both the United Kingdom and Belgium (Wikipedia). Halsey then went on to completely sell out her US tour promoting Badlands in just over 24 hours. It is unimaginable how one person could achieve this much success in just one year, but after attending her live shows and interacting with her, it is clear why.

I would definitely consider myself to be one of Halsey’s more intense and committed fans, so I arrived to wait for her show at the House of Blues at 6am on October 24th to ensure myself a good spot in the crowd. There were two small lines formed, one for the standard entry line, and one for those with a ticket upgrade. For this tour, there was a ticket upgrade available for up to 150 people called Camp Badlands that featured early entry to the venue at 5pm and Badlands inspired activities, including photo booth photos and movie posters for each track on the album. Unfortunately, this upgrade sold out too quickly and I was unable to purchase it, so I was in the standard ticket line with about 10 people in front of me. My friends weren’t able to show up until a few hours later and they were further back in the line than I was for most of the day, but the people around me were nice and respectful of the order of the line, until we received our pass the line passes. At the House of Blues, they have a system where, if you go into their restaurant and purchase an entree, burger, House of Blues merchandise, or simply give a staff member $15, you are given a pass where you are allowed into the venue about 15 minutes before the standard line. The restaurant opens at 4pm, and once 3:30 rolled around, the line began to grow disorganized and people clumped close to the door that hadn’t been in that part of the line before. It grew so close together that the restaurant employees were unable to open the door. During this mess, Halsey’s friend and tour manager came out and handed out hot chocolate to people. While it was a very nice thought, it made the line even less organized and difficult to maneuver. As soon as the door was opened, tons of people shoved forward and crowded around the door, hot chocolate spilling all over everyone and angering the House of Blues staff. The woman who runs the restaurant began to let people in in groups of 10, and because of the shoving, many people got in front of me in line that hadn’t been there all day. Luckily, since I had purchased all of their pass the line receipts, my friends saved me where I was meant to be in the line.

From that point forward, there was a mass state of anxiety flowing through the line that was taking up the entirety of Lansdowne Street. Everyone was concerned that people would cut in front of them and that they would not be getting their rightful place in the crowd, especially since there was already a guaranteed 150 people in front of them. All in all, the rest of the wait went smoothly and, once the doors opened at 6pm, my friends and I ended up in 3rd and 4th rows from the barricade. At 7pm, the opener, Flor, came on. They played 7 of their songs and were a fun way to pass the time. You can check out the indie-pop boy band’s debut album Sights & Sounds on iTunes, and their EP and singles on Spotify. Once their set was over, Halsey’s staging was illuminated. The stage was lined with four digital columns that flashed with images and colors throughout the rest of the show. During the wait between sets, a large group of Halsey’s family members were egging on the crowd from the mezzanine. She is from New Jersey and many of her family members live in the Boston area, so her family is always at her shows near here, showing her unwavering love and support at all times.

At 8pm, the lights went down and the show began. Halsey ran to the front of the stage and commanded every inch of it from the start with Gasoline, to the finish with Young God. Her stage presence is intense, passionate, and larger than life, while still feeling personal and connected to every fan in the room. She began the show in baggy leather pants and a black shinny jacket, took the jacket off midway through to reveal a studded black bra, and ended the night with a change into a hooded snake skin one piece. The differences in clothing were a great depiction of her personality, being that she is kind and casual, while still being sexual and intensely driven. The lighting was a harsh array of colors, but she always goes back to blue lighting. In many of her interviews, she discusses her love of the color blue and strong desire to perform in blue lighting. While Halsey is clearly putting on a performance, she never fails to show her devotion to her fans, reaching her hands out, standing on the crowd, and speaking about her love for the audience, crediting them for how far she has come in just one year. Every member of the audience is completely captivated for the full hour, singing along to every word of every song. Halsey always puts on an incredible show and I can’t wait to see her next summer at her nearly sold out show at Madison Square Garden.

Listen to Badlands on iTunes and Spotify.

Watch the videos for “New Americana” and “Ghost” on YouTube.