I met Halsey.
I have to start that way because I still can’t believe it.
She’s the blue haired goddess who, if you have a Tumblr, has probably crossed your dashboard at least once. I haven’t been a fan of Halsey for long, but as soon as my friend sent me the ZIP file of her Room 93 – EP three weeks ago, my obsession spiraled out of control.
That night we stayed up until 3AM watching YouTube videos of Ashley Frangipane (known by her stage name, Halsey,) performing at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, Rough Trade in New York City, and at Boston Calling Music Festival.
I was mesmerized.
It was in a sleep deprived state later that morning that I googled her touring schedule, only to find that she was (and still is) on the road with Imagine Dragons for the Smoke + Mirrors Tour and would be in Omaha the following week.
Two days later, Rachel and I bought VIP upgrades for tickets we had yet to purchase, only concerned with the fact that ohmygod we are going to meet her. Our girl crushes were going strong and we were evidently in shock.
The concert rolled around before we knew it, and it was certainly a night to remember.
1. Good things happen to cheap people.
Because we bought the upgrades, we decided we weren’t going to spend a lot of money on the actual concert tickets. So the Sunday before the show, we purchased tickets in section 218. It was the top, far left corner of the arena, but we didn’t really care.
Imagine our surprise when we arrived the Century Link Center, climbed to the top tier, and approached the security guard in question of which side of the section we should enter, only to be ushered away from our seats to a table with three ladies.
One lady asked, “How would you like to be upgraded to the floor, free of charge?”
I think I stuttered something along the lines of, “Yeah, of course,” as she cautiously explained that it was general admission, so she couldn’t guarantee that we would be close to the stage.
Obviously that didn’t matter. The back of the floor was still closer than section 218. She gave Rachel and I our wristbands and instructed us to enter from a specific section below.
As we walked back down the stairs, not getting our hopes up, Rachel responded to my, “What just happened?” by saying, “We still aren’t going to be that close.”
Except for once, Rachel was wrong.
You know how most of the time people don’t really care about the opening acts? It sort of seemed like that was the case for the Imagine Dragons concert. Except for the diehard “Radioactive” fans that were crowded around the barricades, the mob around the stage wasn’t large.
With a little elbowing, Rachel and I ended up about ten people from the front.
We couldn’t believe it.
2. Don’t dye your hair blue and wear purple lipstick…
…unless you are Halsey.
Frangipane came on stage just as flawless as ever, dressed in black skinny jeans and an oversized pink t-shirt. Her icy blue hair gleamed in the lights as she opened with “Castle.” All I was able to do was stand in shock as I took a video for my snapstory. She was utterly perfect.
3. She’s one of the few that sound even better live.
I suppose I knew that going into the show. I had obsessively listened to her music on Spotify, Tumblr and YouTube, studio versions and live versions alike. But being in her presence, so close to the speakers, with the beat rattling my heart and her mind-numbing lyrics swimming all around me…it was overwhelming in the best sort of way.
Her words didn’t slur together and she didn’t miss any notes.
The seven song set list consisted of “Castle,” “Empty Gold,” “Roman Holiday,” “Hold Me Down,” “Ghost,” “New Americana” and “Hurricane.”
She was nothing short of flawless.
4. Quiet concerts might actually be better.
The benefit of seeing her as the opener was that the arena wasn’t full of her fans. It might be terrible to say, but I'm glad. I stood about ten feet from her, barely mouthing the words I had ingrained in my mind. With thousands of people in the arena, everyone was hushed, allowing me to soak in every lyric, every note, every beat, way better that I would have if everyone was singing along or screaming in excitement.
5. She is a better person that I will ever be.
When her set was over, Rachel and I made our way to the meet and greet waiting area.
A security guard met the group and led us downstairs. We were guided into a room backstage and given a lengthy detail of instructions, informing us as to how the meet and greet would go.
Everyone would have a chance to take a picture with her and talk to her for a brief moment. Because she wasn’t feeling well, her security guard said there would be no pictures kissing, much to quite a few people’s disappointment, and to make things go quickly, she wouldn’t sign autographs. Once everyone was through, she would introduce two songs from her debut album Badlands, due to release this fall, for an exclusive listening party.
When the instructions were given, the security guard left the room to go find her. He came back five minutes later to tell us that Frangipane had gotten sick after her set and wondered if we could do a poster signing rather than a full meet and greet so that she could sit down.
Everyone agreed, only upset by the fact that she wasn’t feeling well, and fully reassured by the promise of a selfie with her.
Halsey was quiet when she entered the room, smiling slightly and giving fans a wave.
I can’t imagine doing what she did. Performing a flawless seven-song set with full energy while feeling ill, throwing up once she was done, and still heading down to meet and talk to nearly fifty fans.
When I’m sick, I barely have the energy to tell Netflix that I am indeed still watching. I can’t even begin to comprehend how she did any of that.
6. Halsey loves Lizzie McGuire.
Okay, so, I don’t actually know that.
But like, I kind of do.
When it was my turn to have my poster signed, I approached her with minimal shaking, and started off strong by telling her that I felt so, so bad that she was sick.
Of course, the saint that she is said she just felt terrible for us, and that she wanted to make sure we got everything we came for.
When she asked me my name , and I said, “Lizzie,” she asked if I spelled it with an “I-E.”
“Yes,” I said. “It’s like Lizzie McGuire.”
She proceeded to laugh and then fully concentrated on what she was writing.
“If you haven’t seen the movie you’re not going to get this,” she finally said as she signed her name.
I couldn’t help but grin. “I’ve seen it like…just shy of a million times? So it’s all good,” I said.
“Really?” she laughed and handed me the poster. We took a selfie, and then I thanked her and told her to get better soon.
Once again standing next to Rachel, I read what she wrote.
You are a princess + I’m a popstar, let’s run away to Rome.
7. The studio version of “Colors” is everything you want it to be and more.
The entire room had a meltdown when Halsey told us that one of the two songs we would be listening to was “Colors,” a song she had previously performed live but was not a part of her Smoke + Mirrors Tour set list
I resisted the urge to cry in utter happiness as I mouthed the words to the song that I quite literally need now. There’s no way I can go on listening to the live version on tumblr until Badlands is released at the end of August. Not when I know the beauty of the studio version (void of screaming fans in the background).
Halsey, if you’re reading this, first of all, I will 100% run away to Rome with you. Second, please come to Omaha for your next full-length tour. And third, would you mind emailing “Colors?” I really, really need it.