Halestorm Live at Wembley

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Review By Dave Martin

By their own admission the Band, led by the Hale siblings, wondered in their early inception as to whether or not they would ever following in the footsteps of their idols and play across the ocean in London. From their early beginnings Lizzy and Arejay have dreamed of playing on the global stage a far distance from their native Pennsylvania. Although starting the band in 1997 at the ages of 13 and 10 respectively they didn’t release their first album until 2009. Joined in 2003 by guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith they formed the incarnation of the band that continues to this day.

To date they have a back catalogue of 5 studio albums but the most impressive aspect of Halestorm is their live performance. Few artists have the vocal power of Lizzy Hale and to truly experience Halestorm you need to see them live. In their past ventures to this side of the Atlantic they have performed at smaller festivals such as Ramblin’ Man or to more mainstream such as headlining the second stage at Download. Having attended both festivals in person I was excited to see them headline their own show at Wembley. I was fascinated to see whether this live album could do justice to the said headline performance.

Lizzy starts the show with an audible barrage at the beginning of opening track “I miss the misery” which translates well from stage to recording. From the outset the crowd can be heard joining in with the chorus and applauding when Wembly is mentioned. The band then move straight into popular track “Love Bites” where more and more audience participation can be heard. By the end of the first two songs Lizzy thanks the crowd and has them all eating out of her hand. The audience hanging on her every word and responding positively to each comment. She then launches into fan favourite “I get off” where towards the end she holds a note showing her vocal mastery. The high energy continues through “Wicked Ways” and “Freak like me” the gathering active in their participation.

The audible delights continue through five more tracks including Hottinger’s solo on the track “Amen” before reaching an interlude where Arejay completes the traditional drum solo using oversized drum sticks while the rest of the band retreat to the wings. The second part continues as the show had started with high octane performances of “Back from the Dead”, “Bomshell” and ultimately “I am the fire” before the five track encore. The final track “The Steeple” demonstrates the full repertoire of the band from the guitar talents of Hottinger as he solos towards the song’s climax and obviously the vocalisations of Lizzy supported by the talents of Arejay and Smith.

The album in totality is almost a greatest hits record and what most fans want from a band when they see them live. The are few exceptions with their most popular tracks included adding to my positive response to the album.

Despite the obvious talents of the band there are elements of the night that have not fully translated accurately to recording. Listening to the album in isolation will satisfy many a Halestorm fan and give those that have never had the privilege a flavour of the band live without fully giving them the immersive experience. Lizzy Hale may have the best voice live relative to studio recording that I have ever heard, and I hope that this live album encourages more people to see the band in person.

Track list

1. I Miss The Misery 2. Love Bites (So Do I) 3. I Get Off 4. Wicked Ways 5. Freak Like Me 6. Amen 7. Terrible Things 8. Rock Show 9. Familiar Taste Of Poison 10. Takes My Life 11. Drum Solo 12. Back From The Dead 13. Bombshell 14. I Am The Fire 15. Break In – Shatter Me 16. Raise Your Horns 17. Here’s To Us 18. The Steeple

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