In a mere two years since dropping her first official album, Hasley went from a darling of the indie/underground scene to a massive electronic/alt-pop personality. Along with her fellow hit making pals Charli XCX and PartyNextDoor, the “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” Tour sold out the Allstate Arena, suggesting all three acts are some of today’s most viable contenders on the charts.
Halsey also peeled back the shiny EDM from “Closer” (her breakthrough The Chainsmokers) in favor of a piano ballad (that she was the first to admit was overplayed), but also turned the moment into a sincere reflection at how shocked she was to have graduated from the Vic Theatre and Lollapalooza during the daytime to this lofty level.
When it comes to airplay, Charli XCX actually has a little lead time on Halsey, but surprisingly popped up first on the bill, revisiting collaborations with Icona Pop (“I Love It”) and Iggy Azalea (“Fancy”) with her own sugary sweet pop. Whether she was dancing atop her DJ’s mixing booth or racing around the lower bowl, self-penned smashes such as “Break The Rules” and “Boom Clap” were so contagious, they had even those in the most distant rafters dancing as if she was the headliner.
Up next came singer/songwriter/rapper/producer PartyNextDoor and his live backing band, whose rhymes and rhythms weren’t quite as immediate as the opener, but nonetheless added some alternative R&B and hip-hop heat to the evening. Drake may not have been there to assist on their tag teams “Recognize” or “Come And See Me,” but if these smooth solo renditions provided any indication, the relative newcomer is well on his way to following in that superstar’s footsteps.
Yet the bulk of the youthful crowd likely came for Halsey, who brought eclectic arrangements, a distinctive voice, a multi-level stage and numerous costume changes (but declined all requests for press photography). At 23, she demonstrated a wisdom well beyond her years, deeming the Allstate a safe place for the LGBT community and their friends prior to “Strangers,” calling out her own mistakes during “Bad In Love” and championing personal independence surrounding “Is There Somewhere.”
Halsey also traded the shiny sounds of “Closer” (originally with The Chainsmokers) for a sparser rendition backed only by a piano player, which also gave her an intimate moment to humbly reflect on leaping from the Vic Theatre and Lollapalooza during the daytime to this lofty level. Though she could’ve probably made the lengthy set a little learner, fans who’ve been following her since the beginning hung on every moment, while connective cuts such as “Colors,” “Gasoline” and “Hurricane” only justified her newfound status and all-around authenticity.
Upcoming concert highlights at the Allstate Arena include Marc Anthony (Dec. 3); Barry Manilow: “A Very Barry Christmas” (Dec. 5); B96 Jingle Bash starring Taylor Swift, Backstreet Boys and more (Dec. 7); 103.5 KISS FM Chicago Jingle Ball starring The Chainsmokers, Demi Lovato and more (Dec. 13) and Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Dec. 28). For additional details, visit Rosemont.com/Allstate/, LiveNation.com and Ticketmaster.com.