New Stories

Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

by Courtney Gaffey

Singer-songwriter Halsey (Ashley Frangipane) made her stop at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena on Oct. 10. The 23-year-old opened her show with “Eyes Closed,” which one of the songs from her latest album “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.” Her latest album would best be described as electropop with sad, beautiful, and tragic lyrics. The tour, titled after the album, is the second headlining tour by the artist.

She was presented as a silhouette through a silky sheet that surrounded the stage before it was promptly ripped off to show the singer encompassed in fog. The performance was insane. Halsey’s stage presence is phenomenal. While she had only one dancer on stage with her at max, your eyes were glued to the stage. Behind the singer were screens that displayed different animations – from pills to lovers, they mirrored the words the vocalist was belting.

But at times, it was more than just singing; she also shed some light on some common coming of age issues. In 2014, Halsey opened for Imagine Dragons at this exact arena. She spoke to her fans about something that had happened to her when she was still a rising star.

“I think it was maybe the 25th show I had ever done. I was on this stage and I was really nervous… playing to people who had no idea who I was. I was singing a song called ‘Hurricane,’ getting really into it and doing this thing I do where I bend back and my wig came off in front of 10,000 people…I looked like a bald baby,” she said on Tuesday.

The artist then went on to say that while this moment was embarrassing, it helped her appreciate herself, and in turn, learn to love herself, even without the wig. It became a large part of who she is, she claimed. Luckily, there were no wardrobe malfunctions this night – her flowing black wig remained intact throughout the entire show, which lasted about one hour and fifteen minutes. It was pretty impressive considering her constant motion on stage.

Another large part of the show, and her public persona, is her relationship with the LGBT community. Halsey, who is bisexual herself, opened up her song “Strangers,” her first song using same-sex pronouns, with this quote: “If you are a member of LGBT community or a proud friend of someone who is…then this song is undoubtedly from the bottom of my heart to you.”

Frankly, she’s beautiful and literal perfection – I’d undoubtedly go gay for Halsey. Who wouldn’t?

Throughout her show, she played songs from both her past album (“Badlands”) and her current album, and fans went wild regardless of whether they knew the song or not. She closed the show with “Hurricane.” Confetti fell, fog filled the air, and lightning animations flashed behind Halsey. If anyone had ever doubted her vocal skills, they were shown up. Her small stature is shocking compared to the huge voice that comes out.

All in all, the concert was amazing, and it exceeded my expectations. It was welcoming, imaginative, lively, and endearing on a level that surpasses what most popstars present. It brought together such an eclectic group of people. It was something that we struggle to see in the world today: unity.

“Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” may have been the album title, but Halsey’s purpose surely isn’t hopeless, because she’s beautifully unifying diversity, one stage at a time.

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