Story & Photos by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
From the time the lights dimmed and Lzzy Hale took the stage, the crowd at the Arvest Theatre at the Midland screamed their appreciation for a Wild Night with Halestorm. The rockers didn’t disappoint, giving fans an intimate show. They started off with some acoustic versions of songs from across their repertoire and brought it home by plugging it in and giving Kansas City a blistering rock show.
Hale started the night off with a version of “Beautiful With You” center stage with a keyboard. The unplugged version was extremely touching; the stripped down music with a lyrically-powerful song had more than one fan wiping tears from their eyes.
The acoustic set continued with a rarely-heard track called “Sweet Love,” which was co-written with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. They played a few more songs and walked off stage for a brief intermission while roadies plugged in all their gear and prepped for the rest of the evening.
During the intermission, fans could be overheard talking about the acoustic versions. A man wearing a “Go Fuck Your Selfie” shirt seemed really impressed. “Not every band can pull off an acoustic set like that,” he said. And it rang true, Halestorm presented a side of themselves to the audience that most bands can’t pull off. From the bare minimum opener to having the band play fully acoustic with drummer, and Hale’s brother, Arejay playing a cajon, they masterfully played stripped down versions of some of their more popular songs.
When the band came back on stage, the crowd erupted. One of the beautiful things about the Midland is how the crowd’s voice reverberates off the façade. And they never held back, competing with the venue’s sound system and Hale’s voice throughout the set.
The band treated fans to a high energy show, starting from the moment Hale took the stage at the beginning of the show and mounting throughout the night. Hale commands the stage like a tactician, seamlessly jamming on her guitar and moving to the microphone. She made good use of the risers around the stage, at one point telling the crowd – “not asking,” she exclaimed into the microphone – to scream on her command.
Guitarist Joe Hottinger always puts on a good show, and Arejay is a fury behind the kit. Late in the set, Arejay went for a drum solo that had the crowd roaring the loudest of the night – complete with his “little friend,” a huge pair of drum sticks that only seemed to make him play louder.
Overall, Halestorm gave Kansas City fans a complete rock show. The band looks like they’re having fun on stage, consistently smiling and interacting with the crowd, and it makes people who see them feel like they’re having fun. It was really great to see them perform acoustically, it made the concert really special. Having the short intermission made it seem almost like two separate bands, yet it really worked for the type of show Halestorm performs. Had they played acoustically throughout the set it would have thrown off the energy of the show.
Billy Michael, frontman for Springfield, Mo. based rock outfit Shangrala, was in attendance with friends, and said it was a special show.
“It was a very unique and intimate show with the band in my opinion,” he said. “I enjoyed their interpretation of some of their songs performed acoustically, as well as hearing tracks they had not performed live before. It was a really enjoyable show at the beautiful Midland Theatre for sure.”