The show was really cool. It was titled "an evening with Halestorm," so there was no opener. Halestorm played a total of two and a half hours spread across two sets -- one shorter acoustic set, followed by a regular electric set. So it was definitely a unique show.
The place was sold out, and I hear it holds up to 3,000 people. I guess that doesn't surprise me since they've been doing better on radio over the last year, and Philly is probably their hottest market since they are PA-based. I think they wanted to give the crowd a special show since they've always wanted to headline the Electric Factory, and they finally got to do it.
I didn't have significant expectations one way or the other, so nothing really surprised me. The show confirmed what I already knew -- that Lzzy has a phenomenal voice, and Arejay is one of the best rock drummers out there right now. I was very impressed with the overall energy and stamina of the group as a whole.
The show also confirmed my suspicion that a lot of the songs are much better live than on the album. Many of their songs have built-in crowd participation tools that don't translate as well on a studio album. For instance, the "hey! hey! hey!" chants during "Freak Like Me." Or the "na na na" part in "Daughters of Darkness," which frankly sounds a bit gay on the album, but is pretty cool live in terms of audience participation.
The acoustic set was pretty low-key, and added a whole element of intimacy to the show. Lzzy took the stage first, opening with a piano ballad called "Rose in December" which I had never heard, but apparently it's off of their 2001 EP Breaking the Silence. The set covered most of their softer tracks including "In Your Room" and "Break In". For the majority of the set, Arejay was sitting on a stage riser, which he pounded with his hands to make drum sounds. (Lzzy made fun of him for this, harking back to when he used to play the triangle in the school band.) Lzzy and Joe also did a cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long", which they apparently hadn't played since 2004. Unfortunately the set didn't seem to engage the crowd particularly much, since a ton of people just talked through the whole thing. But I enjoyed it nonetheless.
The electric set was obviously more of what I expected from the show. They ripped through the majority of the songs off both of their full-length albums. Arejay did his signature drum solo, and they also covered Guns N' Roses' "Out Ta Get Me." The energy level really picked up during this set, and I think the band were pretty blown away by the crowd.
It was pretty special seeing them in their home state. They reminisced about all the different bands that they had come to see perform at the Electric Factory over the years. There was definitely a sense of nostalgia and "I can't believe we've made it this far."
All in all, I'd say I came out a bigger Halestorm fan than I went in. I'm still not die-hard like I am about Alter Bridge, but I'd go see them again in a heartbeat. I'll post some photos soon.