So after we all got our faces rocked off by the incomparable LITA FORD and Co. it was time to take in HALESTORM live on the first night of their first ever headlining run. What better place than their home state of PA? I knew from experience the damage they are capable of as an opener, so I was anxious to see what they had in store with the stage all to themselves. I have long maintained that they are the hardest-working rock band out there, and they’ve built their fanbase the old fashioned way: by touring their asses off, playing anywhere and everywhere that will have them, sometimes multiple times on the same run.
On the road supporting newest release Into the Wild Life, they started things off with “Sick Individual” from the record before launching into “Love Bites (So Do I)”, one of the best cuts from 2012’s The Strange Case Of… A triple-shot of new tunes followed with “Apocalyptic”, “Scream”, and “I Am the Fire”. Singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale was in fine voice and total command of the room, and the setlist so far was perfection. At this point it was glaringly obvious WHY this band is now headlining, because they are a well-oiled machine.
Lzzy and fellow six-stringer Joe Hottinger play off one another very well, bassist Josh Smith provides the bottom end as well as keyboards, and Lzzy’s younger brother Arejay Hale is so much fun to watch behind the kit, it’s insane. He’s everywhere and he looks like he has four or five arms. It was also his birthday, so Lzzy made it a point to rib him about his love of the cowbell which opened “It’s Not You” from the self-titled debut. “Mz. Hyde” had some real bite, and “Rock Show” was definitely a crowd favorite, as evidenced by all the girls dancing in my section.
One they hadn’t played since 2010 was “Takes My Life” off the One and Done EP from the early days. Now, I’d never heard this song before but holy shit it was awesome! “I Like It Heavy”, “Amen”, and my personal favorite from the new record “Dear Daughter” were next. I told you HALESTORM knows how to put together a setlist! It was one killer track after another, and the hits just kept rolling. “Familiar Taste of Poison” led us into Arejay’s drum solo and one more new cut “Mayhem” before the final four-pack of smashes that have been radio staples for years now.
“I Get Off”, “Freak Like Me”, “Here’s to Us”, and “I Miss the Misery” brought the evening to one helluva close and you could tell by the band members’ faces along with the deafening roar of the audience that the show was a rousing success. HALESTORM is the perfect example of what a band can accomplish with hard work and determination. An insane amount of talent, both at the writing and performing ends doesn’t hurt, either. Reading Eagle Theater holds roughly 7,000 people. Don’t be surprised if a year from now HALESTORM is filling places that hold 17,000 and more. The tour has just started with many more dates to come, so get out there and see these kickass ladies and gentlemen of rock!!
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY