Music insiders call Billie Eilish the revelation of today’s music industry. Promising words. Enfnts Terribles decided to go see for themselves when the American singer landed in Brussels with her ‘don’t smile at me’ tour.
Billie Eilish’ concert was booked in a smaller hall at first, but it outsold in a split second. Because of the overwhelming demand for tickets, they moved it to a bigger venue – which also sold out. When I arrived there in the early evening, fans were already standing in line for hours. It would become clear during the performance why standing in the front row was worth the wait.
Explosions and goose bumps
The grey/lilac haired beauty started off with ‘bellyache’, a song about a serial kill. Sick lyrics, sick performance. Billie’s past as a contemporary dancer was clearly visible when she was swirling over the stage. The teenage crowd was going crazy as they were singing (more like shouting) the words with her. Next on her set was the very emotional ‘idontwannabeyouanymore’. Simply unimpeachable. She sounded honest, pure and very mature – and the latter is remarkable since she’s only 16 years old.
Then came ‘watch’ – which made the venue explode thanks to the drums in the chorus. Billie surely knows how to play a crowd. She made eye contact with everyone and reached out her hands multiple times so that the front row could touch them. After that it was time to take it down again with ‘Bored’, a song that was featured in 13 Reasons Why and boosted Eilish’ career. One of her oldest songs came next: the very vulnerable ‘Six Feet Under’. The sentence “Would roses bloom?” gave me goosebumps every single time.
“I’m sick as shit, y’all”
To let the crowd come to their senses again, Billie took a little break and let her older brother Finneas take the stage. Finneas is her co-writer, producer and on-stage pianist/guitarist/backing vocal. His song ‘NEW GIRL’ was fun and he made quite a performance out of it – you could clearly see that he’s an actor. (He appeared in Glee and Bad Teacher.)
When Billie came back with a ukelele around her neck, she had to cough. “I’m sick as shit, y’all. So sick. I dead ass woke up like 2000 times in the middle of the night. But it’s okay, because you guys make me happy.” The crowd went crazy with those words and went even crazier when she started a Drake cover. ‘Hotline Bling’ was more adorable than ever with her fragile high voice. It was a little prelude for her song ‘party favor’, which is basically a breakup on someone’s voicemail.
Tears and hugs
The next song was an unreleased one. “But sing along if you know it… somehow.” And weirdly, people did sing along. I guess the diehard fans already listened to live performances of the melancholic ‘when the party’s over’. One girl in the front row started crying so hard it made Billie laugh. After the song she went to the girl, hugged her and said “You are a loud cryer. You are so cute. I love you guys so much.” She also told the crowd how she thought it was crazy that people cry for her. “Because you guys are the reason that I don’t cry.”
To stay in the crying vibe, brother Finneas suggested to bring a song about crying. And there came her biggest hit ‘ocean eyes’. That song meant the beginning of Billie Eilish’ career when it unexpectedly went viral on Soundcloud when she was only 13 years old. I gotta admit: I also shed a little tear. It’s truly amazing how Billie is able to move so many people at such a young age. After that it was time to dry our eyes and dance to ‘my boy’.
Billie had left the stage after ‘my boy’, but came back when the crowd started screaming her name. She sang one last vulnerable song, ‘hostage’, and ended the night with a blast: ‘COPYCAT’. Everyone was jumping around, and so was the singer – as if the small venue wasn’t hot enough already with all those people. Before leaving the stage for good, Billie took a bow and hugged all the people in the front row.
I think it’s safe to say that Billie Eilish is an angel towards her fans. Also: she’s definitely worth the hype.
Photo credits: Amélie Outters for Enfnts Terribles