Last night, Halsey played an intimate performance to a hundred or so people before her Spark Arena show. The Spinoff was there.
Last night, to celebrate the opening of S @ Spark Arena – a new bar and performance space in Spark Arena where Spark customers can hang out and have a drink or two before a show – Spark threw an invite-only party. The guest of honour: US pop star Halsey, who treated the audience to an intimate performance before heading out later that evening to play for thousands of hyped fans.
With a keyboardist and a drummer with an electric pad, she played ‘Closer’, the Chainsmokers song that took her from sorta famous to famous-famous (and, apparently, lost her some friends who couldn’t stand hearing her voice everywhere) and ‘Bad at Love’, the second single from her most recent album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (a song about “going through a series of break-ups and realising that they were all your fault,” she said). With minimal backing, her voice shone and the people who knew the words sung along in a way that showed how special this was for most of the attendees.
After the songs, she sat with Jacqui Brown for two questions. She’d been sent 10 but rejected eight, not because she thought they were bad, she said, but because she tends to get so tangential that two would be enough to take up all the allotted time.
In answer to a question about her speech at the Women’s March in New York City, Halsey spoke about internalised misogyny and how she knew whatever she wrote would be compared to the other women she spoke with. “I hadn’t even written a damn word and I was already worried I wasn’t going to be good enough,” she said.
Her speech detailed incidents when she had been sexually assaulted or harassed or was in a position where she was supporting another woman who was assaulted. It’s a brutally honest four minutes, full of bravery and detail. “Being a musician, I often feel like there are parts of my life I need to hide,” she said. “And this was not one of them. This was something I needed to talk about.”
Brown followed with a “fun one” about what we’d see if she had a documentary crew following her around like Gaga or Beiber did. Halsey said she was pretty chill normally, that she liked to spend time alone, was an amazing cook, was into baking and decorating intricate cakes. She was basically amazing at everything – which, when said with her trademark charisma, came across less like a brag and more like a statement of fact.
Brown then passed the mic to a fan who asked a question about a theme in the background of Halsey’s latest album and the corresponding videos. Only the hard-out fans (the “campaign players” Halsey calls them, as opposed to the “battle players” who just like bopping to her songs in the club) understood and, while Halsey did her best to translate and explain, the best we could understand is that it has something to do with the sun and the moon and Romeo & Juliet and how you should choose yourself over whatever you think your destiny is, that nothing’s ‘meant to be’ if it’s not right. Something like that.
And just like that she was up and gone, followed by her four security guards, off to get ready to do what she does best: entertain the hell out of some teenagers.
S @ Spark Arena, designed by New Zealand renowned interior designer Paul Izzard, is there to enhance the concert experience for Spark customers before and after shows, and will occasionally host intimate concerts and product launches.
From today, any Spark customer with a valid concert ticket can register to be on the guest list for S @ Spark Arena. Customers who wish to access the space should go to www.spark.co.nz/music in the weeks before their gig and register their name on the guest list. Successful customers will be notified in the run-up to the gig.
The Spinoff’s music content is brought to you by our friends at Spark. If you’re going to Spark Arena soon, click here to secure a place on the S @ Spark Arena guest list.