Halsey hit the stage unannounced for the first time in two years during Machine Gun Kelly’s Thursday night set at the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest, just in time to sing her guest verse on Kelly’s “Forget Me Too.”
“Do you want me to forget you? she cried from the stage at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on the first night of the three-night Super Bowl week-long festival. “Okay, forget me too. You tell me you hate me, baby. Yeah, I bet you do.
Kelly bobbed up and down alongside Halsey, who would later return for her own set, while playing a pink Fender Telecaster during the song, dressed in a shirt covered in sparkling silver rings and baggy pink pants, while Another special guest and recent Kelly collaborator, Blink Travis Barker of 182, hit the drums.
It was the kind of moment cherished by the annual big game-adjacent festival, which seeks to serve new couples who have never co-headlined together before and are crossing genres.
Saturday sees Green Day paired with Miley Cyrus, and Friday features Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Mickey Guyton, who also sings the national anthem at Sunday’s Super Bowl, in which the hometown Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium.
It’s the first Super Bowl in Los Angeles in nearly 30 years, and the city is bustling with parties and concerts all week long.
Kelly’s set had just a hint of the hip-hop he became known for and was dominated by his recent turn to punk-pop. Barker, who is royalty in the genre, would stay on stage with him for several songs, including another with surprise guest Willow Smith, who joined Kelly for their new duet “Emo Girl.”
There was no onstage mention of the brides who have made Kelly and Barker paparazzi favorites of late. Kelly recently proposed to Megan Fox (she said yes), while Barker is engaged to Kourtney Kardashian.
Towards the end of his set, Kelly invited a lookalike fan he recognized from “about 8,000 of my shows” on stage to stand under a pipe that was supposed to give a serious slimming but only gave him a light fillet.
“Apparently we have to go back and watch Nick Jr. and teach people how to make slime because it wasn’t what I expected,” Kelly said with a laugh.
The 20,000-seat Crypto.com arena was nearly full for the show. Fans had to show proof of vaccination to enter. Most ditched their masks once inside the main hall.
Halsey would return in a ruffled black dress that matched her long straight black hair for a darker ensemble that reflected her own recent shift towards more gothic and industrial sounds.
She told the crowd that she had been extremely nervous about returning, after the pandemic and many life events kept her from performing.
“This is my first show in two years!” she shouted as she got the crowd to jump during her song “Castle.” “I went out and had a whole ass baby. I released an album and a film. I broke my foot.”
She showed no signs of injury as she navigated the stage through songs such as ‘Nightmare’, ‘You Asked For This’ and ‘I Am Not a Woman, I’m a God’, her lyrics projected in blood red behind her with occasional bursts of flame.
There was only fleeting mention of the gaming scene behind the festival.
“I know it’s football time, but let’s go Lakers,” Halsey said, looking at the team’s championship banners hanging above the arena which, until very recently, was known as the Staples Center.
Halsey acknowledged that the team is going through a difficult year.
“I was getting ready for the show tonight,” she said, “and I thought, ‘something good has to happen in this building.'”
Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton