As the last snowflakes melt throughout the city, the live music scene is gaining momentum in Chicago, paving the way for what will certainly be an epic festival season in the summer. And while we can’t wait for festivals like Lollapalooza, the Windy City Smoke Out and more, there are some amazing shows coming to Chicago this month and at some historic venues.
From a couple big nights at the United Center with John Mayer, to Olivia Rodrigo’s highly anticipated 2-night residency at the Aragon Ballroom which sold-out in seconds, there are some huge shows coming to a venue near you in April.
Check out our list of the 5 can’t miss concerts in Chicago in April!
Summer can’t come soon enough and music fans in Chicago can reflect back on warm weather as the Pitchfork Music Festival shared its anticipated 2019 lineup.
With headlining performances from HAIM, Robyn and The Isley Brothers (in celebration of their 60th anniversary), Pitchfork will also boast performances from Pusha T, Earl Sweatshirt, Jeremih, Mavis Staples, Belle & Sebastian, Charli XCX and more. Tickets for Pitchfork are on sale for $75 for single day tickets and $175 for a weekend pass. Fans can visit the festival’s official websitefor tickets and more information.
Since replacing the RCA Dome in 2008, Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium has hosted a number of great concerts since breaking ground. While Kenny Chesney held an informal monopoly on concerts for the venue’s first eight years, One Direction and U2 have also delivered memorable shows at Lucas Oil for their Indiana fans. Concerts at the stadium are rare and reserved for the biggest names in music.
Saturday night was no exception to this trend as Taylor Swift delivered arguably the best concert in the stadium’s decade-long history. As part of her critically acclaimed Reputation Tour, the 10-time Grammy winner not only broke domestic records with her new tour but now also holds the attendance record for Indy’s downtown stadium, with her thirteenth ever performance in the city (13 of course being Swift’s lucky number).
Numbers don’t lie either, because Saturday night’s performance was deserving of the massive number of fans who passed through the turnstiles to watch music’s biggest pop-star perform. From the tour’s grand set design to the delicately organized set list, you can call it what you want but the performance was beyond comparable.
And if Taylor Swift wasn’t already a big enough name to fill the concert’s marquee, Swift brought along Charli XCX and MTV’s VMA Artist of the Year, Camila Cabello, along for the ride.
Up first for the night, as fans began to fill the $720 million dollar stadium and find their seats, English singer/songwriter Charli XCX put on a 7-song performance to reward fans for showing up on-time. The set was short but sweet, as practically every song the 26-year-old singer performed was a hit. Opening up with 2014’s ‘Boom Clap’ (from the movie “The Fault In Our Stars”), hits like ‘I Love It’, ‘Break The Rules’ and ‘Fancy’ kept the crowd moving.
Up next to the stage was an artist who will be headlining stadiums of her own in no time. Despite years of experience from her time with Fifth Harmony, the newly solo Camila Cabello has hit the ground running after announcing her departure from the pop group, which has since announced an indefinite hiatus in pursuit of solo careers.
In just about a year’s time, Cabello delivered the song of the summer with her breakout single ‘Havanna’, released her self-titled debut album and recently took home MTV’s Video Music Awards for Video and Artist of the Year. While pop stars typically grind for years before experiencing massive success, Cabello’s notoriety with Fifth Harmony and addictive tracks have helped her grow at an unprecedented speed.
The sky’s the limit for the ‘Never Be The Same’ singer and Saturday night was evidence of just that. Performing the majority of tracks from her 2018 debut, Cabello’s vocals and talented displays of dancing are what stood out the most, all making for an A-list pop-star.
While tracks like ‘Never Be The Same’ and ‘Havana’ (which opened and closed her set) of course had the crowd singing along, B-sides like ‘She Loves Control’ and ‘Inside Out’ were personal favorites. As an opener, her current show is perhaps better suited for a smaller stage, but Camila still delivered a great performance and is more than capable of entertaining huge live audiences.
Following Cabello’s performance, crew finished setting the stage for the night’s headliner and promotional videos displayed for fans to pass time and speed up the lulls between sets. Although these were just small touches on the tour, the videos put Taylor’s personality and her relationship with her fans on display.
You could feel the anticipation of fans heighten as Taylor Swift was set to deliver her biggest performance in Indianapolis yet. It wasn’t long ago when Swift sold out the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, just a half a mile northeast of Saturday’s concert, and fast forward three years later, Taylor Swift is still the biggest artist in the world, yet performing for an audience over three times the size of her sold-out Indy crowd in 2015. Where you’d expect diminishing returns, Swift continues to find ways to grow exponentially.
Then as Joan Jett’s 1981 track ‘Bad Reputation’ played throughout the stadium and set the theme for Swift’s performance, soundbites from reporters then supplemented a montage displayed on the stage’s giant 100+ foot screen. Comments like “she holds too many grudges” and “I felt like she was a little angry” serve as the fuel to the fire seconds before Swift steps on stage, keeping the singer motivated throughout her 53-date world tour.
Next, with echoes of past criticism filling the entire stadium, Swift was ready for a performance unlike any other that Indianapolis has seen. Fittingly, the video boards parted to the side and Swift then emerged to her Reputation single ‘….Ready For It?’, to which her Indiana fans emphatically answered “Yes”.
The concert’s opening moments are indicative of most of the night, as Taylor and her dancers move across the entire stage and it’s two catwalks while entertaining choreography and hit records keep fans on their feet. And while Swift checks all the boxes when it comes to the main components of a great stadium show, many smaller aspects of the tour serve as the cherry on top. Whether it’s the bracelets (which fans will remember from the 1989 World Tour) that light up the night or the Reputation Newspaper confetti that falls from the sky, the tour’s attention to detail is great.
With this go big or go home mentality, it’s no surprise that it takes nearly 100 semi trucks to move the tour from city to city, enough rigs to cause a traffic jam of their own.
After a strong start, with tracks new (‘Gorgeous’, ‘I Did Something Bad’) and old (‘Love Story’, ‘You Belong With Me’), the first big surprises for fans came during ‘Look What You Made Me Do’. During the bridge, as Taylor sings “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me”, a giant king cobra rises to a height of 40 feet. With snakes serving as an informal mascot for Reputation Era Taylor, the Swifties in the audiences certainly loved massive prop.
A second “guest” (if you will) for the song came at the end of the bridge as the phone rang and actress Tiffany Haddish appeared on the video screen to sit in for Taylor for the tracks’ infamous line: “sorry the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Cause, she’s dead!”
Although the concert gets off to a great start from the very beginning, and ‘I Did Something Bad’ (her second track of the night) is a personal favorite among all the performances, the night’s momentum reaches a whole new level from ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ and beyond.
With strong tracks like ‘End Game’ and ‘King of My Heart’ following ‘LWYMMD’, Swift makes her first departure from the main stage via a floating platform while performing her current single, ‘Delicate’. As the track finishes, Taylor’s next stop is one of two B-stages. And it’s almost insulting to label them as such because although the stages dwarf in comparison to the main stage (her largest stage yet), they are both comparable to the size of her main stage on the 1989 Tour.
Despite selling out the biggest stadiums in the world, Swift covers as much real estate as she can in the venues, turning a huge production into an intimate show. There is literally no bad seat in the house for this one.
If you were closest to the stage-right B-stage though, you were in luck as this act of the concert is the best for many reasons. The first reason is that Swift kicks thing off with her mega-single ‘Shake It Off’ and she doesn’t do it alone either, as Camila Cabello and Charli XCX stick around to join in on the fun.
Next, Swift strips things down for an unforgettable acoustic portion of her set. Performing her Reputation track ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’ and her 2008 song ‘Forever & Always’ (a song performed special on the tour for her Indy fans), Swift slows things down and shares some special moments with the crowd.
After a few great performances, Swift then makes her way to the second of two B-stages for another huge single, ‘Blank Space’, as well as Reputation’s most risque record, ‘Dress’.
After her time at the B-stages, Swift floats on back to the main stage with a perfect mash-up of two tracks you would have never thought meshed so wonderfully, with 2016’s ‘Bad Blood’ and 2006 ‘Should’ve Said No’, a country record from Taylor’s self-titled debut. Although a decade and different genres separate these two tracks, it’s as if they were written and recorded as a pair.
With the final stretch of her set nearing, Swift kept her fans engaged with more songs from her newest album, including ‘Getaway Car’, ‘New Year’s Day’ and ‘Call It What You Want’.
Then, to cap off an already memorable night, T-Swift ends the performance with two especially strong performances, one old and one new, but both showcasing her tough, confident and sometimes unforgiving frame of mind. The first being ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ and the second being ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’.
Fireworks filled the Indianapolis skyline for the set’s finale and smiles spread across the Lucas Oil Stadium. There was no need to beat traffic that night, because enjoying every last second of the night far outweighed getting home as fast as possible. In fact, we’re sure the ushers had trouble herding fans out the door, as Swifties grabbed their final selfies to remember the record setting night.
It’s almost to impossible to imagine how Taylor Swift could grow after her beloved 1989 World Tour invaded Indianapolis a few years ago, and yet Swift managed to exceed even the highest of expectations.
We’re not sure how Swift can top herself with her next world tour, but we certainly know better than to doubt her.
…Ready For It?
I Did Something Bad
You Belong With Me
Look What You Made Me Do
King of My Heart
Shake It Off
Dancing With Our Hands Tied
Forever & Always
Should’ve Said No
Don’t Blame Me
New Year’s Day
Call It What You Want
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Taylor Swift delivered two sold-out performances at Chicago’s Soldier Field this weekend for over 100,000 screaming fans. A critically acclaimed tour complete with a 110 ft. tall stage, a plethora of snakes, A+ choreography and 2-hours of amazing live performances, fans got their money’s worth in the Windy City.
So it was only right that we made our way to Chicago’s lakefront to capture some great images of the tour.
Check out our photos from Taylor Swift’s first Soldier Field performance below and read our full (Taylor co-signed) review of the performance here.
When Taylor Swift announced that she would deliver another two-night residency to Soldier Field, three years after Swift’s critically acclaimed 1989 World Tour rolled through the Windy City for back-to-back nights, the pop superstar’s Chicago fans were instantly Ready For It.
But if you were expecting a repeat of Taylor’s Chicago visit in 2015, or even a repeat of her recent Rosemont appearance for the B96 Pepsi Jingle Bash, you were wrong because Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour raises the bar when compared to all of her tours to date, making it her biggest and best tour yet. While packed crowds, a carefully crafted setlist, talented dancers and screaming fans are all familiar constants throughout the years, the Reputation Tour is an extravagant show that sets a new standard for perfection that only her tours to come will likely have the potential to surpass.
Friday night’s story began, not when gates opened or when the opening acts hit the stage, but months ago when Taylor Swift announced her 2018 tour. In a fight to ensure that real fans get tickets from the primary source, Swift and Ticketmaster joined forces for her verified ticket program, where fans had the opportunity to watch videos, purchase merch and more, to earn points that could be used for early access to tickets. While this program drew some criticism (almost entirely from those outside of her fan base), the end result was Taylor’s most engaged fans having first dibs at their most wanted seats. Fast forward to June 1st, scalpers’ profits were curbed severely and true fans filled the stadium to witness what may be one of the highest grossing tours of all time.
So with tickets in hand, fans made their way to the home of the Chicago Bears to watch music’s biggest artist and two of her own favorite pop singers, Charli XCX and Camila Cabello, all who have performed for huge crowds in Chicago on several occasions before. From Charli XCX’s memorable performances at Lollapalooza to Camila Cabello’s recent and sold-out Chicago show on her headlining Never Be The Same Tour, and of course Taylor’s 2015 visits to Soldier Field, the powerful trio were prepared to deliver a night that the city would not soon forget (only to do it again on Saturday).
To kick things off on a high note, Atlantic recording artist Charli XCX blessed the stage first and rewarded the thousands of fans who arrived to the show on-time. Performing her biggest singles and collaborations, including ‘Boom Clap’, ‘Fancy’, Break The Rules’ and more, XCX hasn’t released a full length album since 2014 but quickly reminded fans that she has recorded some of our favorite pop records throughout the past few years. Even if she doesn’t release another album (something she has hinted at in the past), Charli XCX’s fun energy on stage will draw a crowd every time she returns to the city.
Next up, pop’s biggest emerging star, the lovely and talented Camila Cabello, said hello to her Chicago fan base. The 21-year-old Cuban-American singer and former Fifth Harmony stand-out, has already surpassed the successes of her former group in so many ways. Her self-titled debut is one of our favorite pop albums from the past year and the LP’s lead single ‘Havana’ has topped the charts in countries all over the world. Her stage presence as a solo artist is well beyond her years and her new Pharrell collab ‘Sangria Wine’ has been on repeat since its release. All of the above was on display Friday night.
Camila’s set was a lite version of her headlining tour that made its way through the Midwest just a few weeks ago, but everything that made the tour great transitioned to the stadium level. Cabello performed her album’s best tracks, like ‘Consequences’ and ‘Never Be The Same’, and closed the performance with her mega-single, ‘Havana’.
Two acts in, the crowd already got their money’s worth with great sets from XCX and Cabello. Taylor Swift casted some hard acts to follow on her tour (something she has done in the past with openers like Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran), but the Swifties in the crowd knew that she would welcome the challenge and elevate the night from an A to an A+.
As the last fans through the gates found their seats and the house lights throughout the stadium dimmed, the mood was set as Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” played. Of course tying in the 1981 track’s theme to her newest and similarly titled album, the tour continued with a video montage of mass media critiquing Swift and her lifestyle over the past few years. “Taylor Swift is on top of the world, but has she does some sketchy things to get there,” one reporter asks. Taylor Swift embraced this criticism in her new album, and this was instantly evident in the concert’s opening.
“Baby, let the begins” are the first words we hear as the 100+ foot video screens separate and a smokey silhouette of Taylor Swift appears. The fog settles as Taylor Swift drops her sparkly hood (just one of many costumes throughout the night) and charges towards the snake pit, opening the night with her Reputation single, ‘…Ready For It?’.
Immediately the attention to detail and subtle effects of the production are on display. “Rep” is projected onto stage’s long catwalks as the dancers march to join Taylor while the crowds light-up bracelets illuminate the stadium. Smoke blasts up as the bass resonates through the crowd between verses. All small but important details that help compliment the performance while Taylor’s singing and dancing are at the forefront.
And while ‘…Ready For It?’ is the perfect opening number for this album, the concert’s production levels only increased as the night went on. The fireworks that shot up from the second song until the last, rivaled the fireworks on display every summer week on Lake Michigan. The heat from the pyrotechnics could be felt all the way from the South Endzone.
Plus, if you thought Taylor’s stage on the 1989 Tour was big, then her main stage on this tour is enormous. And this tour has not one, but three stages, where Taylor can make the entire stadium feel like they have a close view for at least a couple of songs. In fact, both B-stages on the Rep Tour are bigger than the main stage from the 1989 Tour. There wasn’t a single bad seat in the house on Friday night.
Staying true to her bad reputation theme, Swift’s showcased her new favorite animal throughout the show. While they will never compete with Swift’s cats Olivia and Meredith, snakes were rapid at Soldier Field. From her custom made snake microphone (subtle detail #173) to the giant 30-foot purple eyed cobra that slithered on stage for ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, Swift continued to flip the script on her haters by making the once negative symbol one of her own.
Seconds later, a brief video skit featuring actress/comedian Tiffany Haddish played, where she subs in for the track’s memorable line.
“Sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now… Why? Cuz she’s dead!”
Even if the old Taylor is dead, she came back to life for the tens of thousands of fans in attendance Friday. Swift performed almost the entirety of her 2017 LP, however she still dedicated 9 tracks of her setlist to the old Taylor, performing songs from 1989, Red and more.
It says a lot about how massive Swift’s catalog of hits are when she performs more old tracks on this tour than any of her tours before, and still big hits like ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ and ‘Wildest Dreams’ don’t make the cut with a two-hour set. Although there were songs not performed that fans would have loved to hear, if Taylor Swift fully solved that problem, the show would have practically bled into Charli XCX’s opening set for the next day. All things considered, fans couldn’t have asked for an objectively better setlist, and to make the June 1st performance different from all others, Taylor Swift even delivered a special acoustic performance of ‘Our Song’, the first time she performed the track on this tour.
Taylor Swift also took to her guitar for an acoustic stripped down performance of ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’, a track which is heavily produced on its album version. The change in pace was a stand out moment from the evening.
Another highlight from Swift’s performance was her performance of ‘Shake It Off’, where the Grammy-winning singer was joined by both Charli XCX and Camila Cabello. ‘Shake It Off’ is perhaps the most fun track in Swift’s catalog, so it was only right that the three sang and danced their butts off to the 2014 single. Although Camila and Charli weren’t big surprise guests like the last guests to join Taylor on stage in Chicago (Andy Grammer, Sam Hunt), it was still a memorable moment that fans won’t forget.
To bring night one to a close, Swift paired her John Mayer-inspired ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ track with ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’, a record inspired by Mayer’s ‘Bittersweet’ collaborator, Chicago’s own, Kanye West. These back-to-back performances were 0% bitter and 100% sweet, as the tracks went together perfectly, and for the latter Swift totally let loose. Performing the track in a huge water fountain, not too different from Chicago’s landmark Buckingham Fountain, located just a mile north, Swift got more than her feet wet for the grand finale.
From start to finish, the hits, the fireworks, the impressive choreography and the screams and smiles throughout the crowd never stopped. Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour will exceed even the highest of expectations, and Taylor continues to amaze us all. Whether she is penning Grammy-winning tracks for other artists, breaking records with her full length releases, changing compensation structures from streaming platforms for artists everywhere, or of course blowing us all away with her live shows, there isn’t anything that Taylor Swift can’t do.
If you somehow missed out on Friday night’s show (only acceptable excuses include: emergency surgery, wedding, death in family), you’re especially lucky because Taylor Swift will be hitting the reset button in the Windy City and delivering another Soldier Field performance on Saturday, in what will surely be another memorable night.
…Ready For It?
I Did Something Bad
You Belong With Me
Look What You Made Me Do
King of My Heart
Shake It Off
Dancing With Our Hands Tied
Should’ve Said No
Don’t Blame Me
New Year’s Day
Call It What You Want
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
It was a good night in Chicago, as Halsey brought her headlining hopeless fountain kingdom tour with the talented PartyNextDoor and Charli XCX, to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL last night. Selling out the 18,500-capacity venue and touring the country with two of her favorite artists, after performing for a Chicago crowd of 1,000 at The Vic just a couple years ago, Halsey’s growth and success has increased exponentially since she released her debut album, Badlands, in 2015.
But to say that last night was all about the headliner would be an understatement, as Halsey was in good company from the moment the show started to the time curtains dropped for her headlining set. Charli XCX got the night started with a half hour of her biggest singles to date, including ‘Boom Clap’ and ‘I Love It’. XCX surprised her Chicago fans during her Lollapalooza performance this past summer, as she brought out Halsey during her set, so it was only right that the two join forces for Halsey’s biggest tour of her career.
After Charli XCX got the party started, it was time for the party next door, literally. While PartyNextDoor may not share as similar of a fan base as Halsey and Charli XCX, Halsey could not have picked a more talented artist to join her tour. Signed to Drake’s OVO Sound, PND has penned tracks for Rihanna, Beyonce, Usher, DJ Khaled, Drake and many more. And even with mega-hits on his resume, Party still saves some of his best tracks for his solo work. With his critically acclaimed self-titled projects (most recently 2016’s PartyNextDoor 3), Party has built a strong fan base with his exceptional lyrics and talented vocals.
And all his talent was on display tonight, as PartyNextDoor delivered a roughly 10-track set. But instead of taking credits from some of your favorite artist’s hit singles, PND left his writing credits at the door and won the crowd over with his voice and performance skills rather than name dropping his collaborators. Party wowed the crowd with performances of ‘Recognize’, ‘Persian Rugs’, ‘Sex On The Beach’ and many more.
The road PartyNextDoor taking might not be the shortest one, but once he fully gets to his destination, he will be a star. While he wins crowds over, arena-after-arena and song-after-song, expect the Canadian singer-songwriter to continue to show the world that he is one of music’s most underrated rising stars.
Of course, last but not least it was time for Halsey to greet her Windy City fans. Each time the ‘Bad at Love’ singer visits Chicago she debuts a new hairstyle and showcases her growth as a performer. From supporting Imagine Dragons at the United Center, to Lollapalooza performances, to performing for a crowd of 1,000 at The Vic, last night was the cherry on top of Halsey’s memorable visits to Chicago. Early in the show Halsey confessed her love for Chi-town, and dubbed the show the loudest of the entire tour, while noting that she wasn’t just one of those artists that lies and tells that to every city. And given the relationship Halsey has had with the city in the past few years, we have zero reason to doubt her.
Throughout the night, Halsey performed the majority of tracks from her second studio, hopeless fountain kingdom, where the tour get its name. Not only did Halsey choose a setlist that differed from the previous stops on the tour, Halsey catered her set to the true fans that filled the arena and not just the casual fan. Although she played her mega-hit and Chainsmokers collaboration ‘Closer’, even Halsey had to admit that it was annoying how overplayed the track was on the radio. It’s rare that an artist is so relatable and funny, while also taking a jab at themselves, but it worked. Having said that, her stripped down performance of ‘Closer’ was one of the highlights of the entire night.
As Halsey performed everything from the new to the old and the hits and the B-side, she took control of the arena and proved that no stage is too big for the emerging star. And with a visit to the B-stage and even a trek through the audience to give hugs and take selfies, everyone in attendance was in a good position to have a great night. If you didn’t get your tickets in time for Halsey’s sold-out show, you certainly missed out, but history would suggest that Halsey will be back in Chicago in less than a year’s time.
Check out the remaining dates of the hfk tourhere.
In support of her forthcoming sophomore album, hopeless foundation kindom, Halsey has announced her huge headlining tour, which will roll throughout North America this fall. With support from Charli XCX and OVO Sound singer PartyNextDoor, Halsey will kick off her arena tour on September 29th in Uncasville, CT and will make stops in Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Dallas and many more, until the tour concludes on November 22nd in Cleveland.
Tickets for the hopefound foundation kindom tour will go on sale for the general public on May 12th via www.hfktour.com, and with every pair of tickets purchased online, fans will have access to redeem (1) physical copy of her new album.
Check out the dates for Halsey’s North American tour with PartyNextDoor and Charli XCX below.
2015 saw a lot of great concert tours, from J. Cole’s Forest Hills Drive Tour with Big Sean, YG and Jeremih to Taylor Swift’s huge 1989 World Tour. Some tours sold out stadiums and arenas, selling out the entire tour before it even begun, and some tours were in small intimate venues, either strategically or because simple supply and demand. Some had stacked lineups top to bottom and some introduced us to a lot of great new artists. Festivals like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella were bigger than ever this year, but that didn’t stop your favorite artists from building up some great shows of their own.
Hit the jump and check out our list of our 20 Favorite Concert Tours of 2015!
Even with Halloween just days away, we promise you will not see anything else like Lawrence Rothman’s music video for ‘Oz v. Eden’, a record which will be available everywhere on November 6th. With additional backup vocals from Charli XCX, the California artist’s new record is expected on his forthcoming album, which you can look out for in 2016 and will feature Angel Olsen, Kim Gordon and Ariel Pink. The new visuals are chilling, freaky, shouldn’t be watched alone and amazing all at once!