As the sun began to set over the Ozark mountains last Friday evening, 8,000 people crowded into the gates of the massive venue. As someone who had not yet been exposed to the music of opener Jessie Reyez, I was taken aback from the first moment she sang to the last note. At one point later in her set, she told the audience about her experiences in the “Me Too” movement followed up by an emotional performance describing the events in song. Her energy shined as she danced and jumped around the stage, making the events of the evening something all her own.
After Reyez concluded her set with a chant led by her while the audience joined in, the twilight hour was officially upon us. The crowd buzzed as they eagerly awaited the moment that Halsey would finally take the stage. At 9:00 sharp the massive set of steps onstage was covered by a hanging white cloth as if to curtain the entire production. The lights went dark, and a deep red hue appeared behind the veil. The sound began to engage and from the bass carried thick up to the top of the hillside and beyond. As the curtain dropped, atop the staircase stood Halsey belting out vocals that intoxicated from the first breath.
The show was a constant message of love and the power of being comfortable in one’s own skin. The vibes of Halsey were all encompassing and packed with positivity and acceptance. The audience roared with happiness as she made her way through the set, changing costumes several times, switching from a mainstage-ready wedding dress, a customized hoodie, and more. Her transitions between songs often included words in support of the LGBT community and adoration and gratitude for her ability to be with us that night.
Through the sweaty Arkansas summer night, she hit upon a range of her catalog, including hits ‘Gasoline’, her collaboration ‘Closer’ with dance music behemoths The Chainsmokers, new music and old. She closed her encore with her smash hit ‘Bad at Love’, leaving the audience on cloud nine and fully satisfied. Any fans unsure of the greatness of Halsey undoubtedly left the venue that evening fully convinced of the talented force of love she is.
Arkansas is so modest. Y’all seem so quiet on the map, but this crowd was RAGING. Who knew this whole time I was missing out on such a lit crowd. I’ll be coming back here always and forever. We fought through the heat, sweat our makeup off, screamed, cried, laughed, danced, DAMN.
— h (@halsey) July 21, 2018
Halsey is currently on a US tour, and to miss an opportunity to watch her perform would certainly be a mistake.