For the second time in a week, we were driving up the M8 in the rain and the dark heading for the SSE Hydro. The difference this time was that I was in the driving seat and it was only Boy Child and I who were heading the venue.
So, who were off to see?
I’ve actually lost count of the number of times I’ve seen these guys. I think this was to be my 10th Halestorm show or thereabouts. However, this was to be the first time that they headlined the SSE Hydro arena. A far cry from being the support to Shinedown in the O2 Academy a long time ago when I first saw them….
Despite being near the head of the queue we struggled to get a decent spot. (The rail was filled with Halestorm VIPS who had done the whole meet and greet experience) We made the best of the options available and took up a position not a million miles away from where we’d stood to watch Ghost earlier in the week. It turned out to be a dubious choice…. but that’s a story for another day. Let’s just say some VIPs need to learn a little “crowd manners” ……
There were three bands on the bill- all fronted by women. Girls are taking over the mics!
First up were New Year’s Day from Los Angeles, who are fronted by the talented Ash Costello. I’d seen these guys five years ago when they opened for Escape The Fate at The Garage and was keen to see how their sound had matured. They delivered a solid opening eight song set much to the delight of those present. Ash Costello knows how to work a stage and engage a crowd! She is very chatty! Loved their set despite the issues I was having actually seeing the stage. I’d like to see them headline a show in a smaller venue to get a better feel for them but all in all the evening was off to an awesome start!
As the road crew worked to change the stage round the PA played Bohemian Rhapsody. Cue community singing “Scaramouch…Scaramouch……”
Next up were In This Moment, also from LA. The stage was “uniquely” set up with a small fenced in platform and a tent at the back of the stage with In This Moment’s iconic logo mounted above it. Their backdrop was a huge pentagram. I really wasn’t sure what to expect….
Front woman Maria Brink is, shall we say, “eccentric” in her approach. Very dramatic and theatrical. A recent magazine interview with Lzzy hale described Maria Brink as a cross between Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson. I couldn’t have put it better myself!
After an intro of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, In This Moment took to the stage. Shrouded in a sheet, adorned with an ornate halo headdress, Maria Brink appeared on the raised platform being fawned over by two prowling dancers.
What followed was an intriguing forty-minute, eight song set, numerous costume changes and the confirmation that this really was akin to Lady Gaga meets The Pale Emperor himself.
As with New Year’s Day I was experiencing “viewing” issues ( 6’3” over enthusiastic headbanger vs 5’3” wee me wasn’t working out too well). I’d like to see these guys another day, perhaps in a smaller room and without the blight of technical glitches. I suspect their technical difficulties destroyed the flow of an otherwise impressive performance…. bizarre…. very bizarre ….
At 9.30 pm the lights dimmed for a final time as we waited patiently for Halestorm to take to the stage. The usual Glasgow chant of “Here we, here we, here we f**king go” was ringing out loud and clear.
Appearing centre stage as her boys took up their positions, Lzzy began their eighteen-song, ninety-minute set with the sleazily seductive Do Not Disturb, from their current album, Vicious. Right from the off, it was clear Halestorm were on their A Game. Two of my favourites, Love Bites (So Do I) and Mz Hyde, followed. What a way to open a show!
In her trademark nine-inch heels, Lzzy had the Scottish crowd in the palm of her hand. Glasgow just loves this girl!
As I mentioned earlier, the first time I saw Halestorm they were the support band for Shinedown at the O2 Academy. Over the years I’ve seen them step up a venue size with every headline show. They have played the SSE Hydro before as support to Alter Bridge back in 2013. As Lzzy herself said, it was a dream come true for them to return and headline a show at the SSE Hydro and, as a fan, it was a pleasure to see these guys watch their dream become reality.
A Familiar Taste Of Poison made a return to their set, (I really missed it last time out) closely followed by crowd favourite Amen.
Then it was Arejay’s turn to shine! Who can resist Arejay Hale’s playful drum solo? And as for those “big sticks” …… awesome stuff! Despite the dodgy dress sense, he truly is one of my favourite drummers!
Freak Like Me followed and all of Lzzy’s “freaks” would have happily followed her anywhere.
Chemicals and I Am The Fire rounded out the main body of the set, Halestorm certainly were on fire!
After a few moments off stage, Lzzy returned alone. A keyboard had been wheeled out to centre stage. In the spotlight, behind her piano. Lzzy demonstrated just how incredible that voice really is with a medley of Break In, Dear Daughter and a cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You. Absolutely stunning!
Red solo cups in hand, the rest of the band returned to toast the fans with a storming version of Here’s To Us before bringing the show to a climax with She Won’t Mind and I Miss The Misery.
Eargasmically awesome show! Definitely the best performance I have seen them deliver.
Hurry back, folks, I Miss The Halestorm!