As the egg-nog hangovers started to wear off and the temperatures began to drop, fans young and old lined up outside Philadelphia’s most historic venue, The Electric Factory, to catch “An Evening With Halestorm”. The show was uniquely set up in that the band was playing on their Jekyll and “Mz. Hyde” theme by doing both acoustic and “electric” sets.
The venue continued to fill up as Lzzy Hale, took the stage at the piano, singing “Rose In December” – a ballad she wrote when she was just thirteen years old. The rest of the band joined her on stage for “Private Parts” – a bonus track featuring James Michael of Sixx: A.M. from their latest album The Strange Case of… Halestorm. For the live version of the song, the male band members – Arejay Hale, Joe Hottinger, and Josh Smith harmonized Michael’s parts. The acoustic set in Philly was also a night a firsts, as it was the first time the band has ever played “Beautiful With You”, “In Your Room” and “Hate It When You See Me Cry”. The acoustic set was a time for reminiscing for the band, as Lzzy and Joe recalled the many shows they had seen at the venue together growing up. Covers during this part of the set included “Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac and the Heart hit, “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You”. The latter was for “the people who remember what a VHS tape is”, Lzzy joked. Josh and Arejay eventually left the stage, leaving Joe and Lzzy to cover AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”. Closing with the post-Carnival of Madness fan-favorite, “Break In”, the band left the stage to prepare for their second act.
A short time later, the band took the stage once again donned in black-on-black from head to toe as Lzzy belted out the lyrics to “Mz. Hyde”. Once all of the ballads were out of the way, the band put on a high energy performance from start to finish – although throughout most of it, the majority of the crowd was still. Moments such as Lzzy riling up her “Daughters of Darkness”, their cover of Judas Priest’s “Dissident Aggressor”, and Arejay’s pre-encore drum solo were the few times the crowd looked alive. Despite the frigid weather conditions, fans still lined up by the venue’s backdoor for a photo opportunity and to express their admiration and well wishes for the new year – which the band happily attended to.
On Saturday, a looming snowstorm struck fear into many that the concert at the Wellmont Theatre would be cancelled. As the old saying goes – the show must go on. The sidewalks packed with ice didn’t stop fans from lining up hours before doors. The venue filled up just as much as the Electric Factory, only with a less diverse crowd. Instead of an audience of mixed ages, the Montclair crowd was filled with what seemed to be- intoxicated Sons of Anarchy look-a-likes.
“I guess you have to be careful what you name your band,” Lzzy joked as she took the stage, referring to the inclement weather. The band still played on their “Jekyll and Mz. Hyde” theme, only switching up the order of the songs in the sets. Typical crowd heckling included burly men shouting “I love you, Lzzy!”, “Slayer!” and “Free Bird!” – prompting humorous anecdotes from the band. Arejay and Josh left Lzzy and Joe alone on the stage, allowing them to perform once again in a throwback jam-session style, accentuating their onstage chemistry.
The band took the stage once more, opening with a drum solo by Arejay, followed by their Grammy-nominated hit “Love Bites (So Do I)” and delivered an energy-filled set, getting fans off their feet with fists and horns in the air. Much of the set was the same, but the crowd’s roar was much louder and involved from start to finish.
Halestorm put on a flawless performance from start to finish, from Lzzy’s vocals – reminiscent of Pat Benetar and Heart’s Ann Wilson, Arejay’s on-stage charisma that perfectly emulates Animal from “The Muppets”, Josh Smith’s flawless bass-playing and Joe Hottinger’s infectious allure. Their touring schedule for 2013 is currently unknown, but we assure you – it’s a show you cannot afford to miss!