The global superstar delivered a masterclass in how to put on an arena show
Image: Matty Vogel.
It’s been some time since Australian shores have been graced with a juggernaut pop arena show. But last night, global superstar Billie Eilish kicked off the Australian leg of her Happier Than Ever tour to a roaring sold-out Sydney crowd.
As the lights dimmed, the packed out arena erupted in cheers and screams as lights beamed throughout. A quick flash of light revealed Eilish elevated at the back of the stage, before she was engulfed in darkness once more. Minutes later the stage lit up in white and the singer flew into the air, propelled from beneath the stage, to open the show with her hit, bury a friend. Fans screamed along to every word of the track, as Eilish stomped across stage commanding her audiences attention, gesturing her arms for the crowd to join and jump along.
“This is a good vibe in here. I’m fucking stoked out of my mind. Are you ready to have fun in here?” Eilish asks her fans. She indeed delivered on her promise. The show brought together hit tracks and fan favourites, including the energetic Therefore I Am, which saw Eilish’s brother and collaborator FINNEAS make his way down to the front of the stage. During the song, she leans in towards those at the front of the pit, causing fans to surge towards the singer in the hopes of being greeted by their idol. They got their chance to do so later in the set, during Getting Older. As archival footage of a young Eilish played out on screens, the singer walked along the front of the pit, hi-fiving fans and spending time with them. A few audience members took the opportunity to shout into the singers microphone, which prompted laughs from Eilish. With a brimming smile on her face, these more intimate moments with her audience showcased the bond the singer has with her fans, and the unity her music provides.
Her love for her audience rang throughout the night. “Oh my god, I like you. I really like you guys” she says before telling the crowd “If you have anything on your mind or something to scream about, I’m gonna ask you for the rest of the night to scream about it.” Minutes later, she offered the arena the perfect screaming moment during you should see me in a crown. Bouncing around the stage, Eilish’s infectious energy had the entire arena on their feet throughout the night. Leading into Oxycontin and COPYCAT, she asks fans “do you wanna try something fun?”, telling them there’s a moment coming up in the set where she’ll ask the crowd to get low before jumping to their feet. “Do you promise to jump with me? For the love of god, prove it!” And prove it they did. 20,000 people catapulted into the air, bursting with energy. At one moment during the night, the crowd chanted “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi”, which met the singer and her brother with some confusion as to what was going on. FINNEAS replied to the crowd “bless you”, whilst Eilish asked “What’s that? I like that. I love that.” Other moments included a fan throwing an Elmo plush toy on stage donning a t-shirt that wrote “ Elmo is gay for FINNEAS”, with flowers thrown on stage during Lost Cause, and jokes shared between the superstar and her doting audience.
One of the nights standout production moments was NDA, a frenzied song that comments on her loss of privacy in the limelight and sharing the intimate details of her personal life. The songs music video follows the singer as she is surrounded by cars weaving at full-speed around her. With scenes from the visual played on the stages screens, lighting rigs were lowered towards the crowd, beaming rays throughout the arena to recreate the frenetic lighting motions present in the songs clip. I Didn’t Change My Number showered the arena in red hues, a common theme throughout the show, as laser strobes darted across the stage. The laser work continued later in my strange addiction, creating shapes around Eilish. In contrast, the medley of idontwannabeyouanymore and lovely rippled blue and aqua hues whilst the singer stood centre stage before encouraging the crowd to sing, baring resemblance to the conductor of an orchestra. Her rendition of lovely featured the recording of Khalid's vocals, in which Eilish harmonised beautifully with, following the opening notes of the track sending fans into ELATION.
The staging itself was quite minimal. FINNEAS and drummer Andrew Marshell played from their own platforms, whilst parts of the stage elevated throughout the evening. And of course, Eilish’s vocals never missed a note. Be it the soothing lower and raspy tones of her range, or powerful belting moments, Billie Eilish is one of the best live vocalists of her generation. She effortlessly delivers a standout performance, knowing what she and her audience want from an evening in which they share an unparalleled connection.
Moments of intimacy and vulnerability shrouded a trio of acoustic tracks, i love you, Your Power and TV, the singers latest release. Eilish and her brother sat front of stage with acoustic guitars in hand, both harmonising with angelic vocals and creating a homely setting that shrunk the arena setting down to that of a lounge room. It served as an invitation into a more personal side of the singer. Your Power was a mighty moment within the set, with fans chanting lines such as “how dare you” as the singer details power dynamics and how people in a position of power can take advantage. A striking moment for me was when the young girl seated next to me began to sing along to the track, marking the first time I’d heard her sing-a-long during the concert, showing the impact that Eilish’s music and honesty
will have on future generations. Image: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for
Frontier Touring & Live Nation.
She soon moved to the back of the arena to perform OverHeated, bellyache, ocean eyes and Bored. Treating fans seated further away from the stage with a closer glimpse of their favourite artist, the stage began to elevate and a rig lifted the singer up to the next level of the arena and around the back half section. It was a delight for those sitting there, as well as the rest of the arena who, visually, saw her amongst her fans. As we entered the final act of the show, Eilish delivered some of her biggest hits. The purity of when the party’s over allowed the light and shade of Eilish’s vocals to truly shine, as she perched herself atop a stool for the most subdued moment of the show. A brief visual glitch on the all white stage perplexed the singer causing her to chuckle mid-song whilst pillars of light beamed up from the stage. She dedicated everything i wanted to her “best friend”, brother FINNEAS, before telling fans “I stand with you and everything that makes you who you are." Footage of the fans that filled the arena lit up the stage, and Eilish watched the screens with a smile as she observed the loving audience, who would erupt with joy upon seeing themselves on the big screen.
As we reached the penultimate track, bad guy, she once again reminded fans of her love for them whilst breaking the news she only had a few songs left to perform on this special night they’ve shared together. This was their last chance to absolutely send it together, and the audience were not going to shy away from busting their best dance moves. Finally, the song we had all been waiting for. The gut-wrenching, heartbreaking title track of Eilish’s sophomore album, Happier Than Ever. Dulcet classical guitar melodies unfurled beneath the singers soothing vocals, building to that epic arena rock ending. It’s quite an experience hearing 20,000 people scream at the top of their lungs “I’d never treat me this shitty, you made me hate this city.” It was a cathartic, bonding moment for people with shared experiences who have come together for one night to leave behind any baggage and hurt, instead finding joy and a sense of togetherness thanks to a 20-year-old artist from California. Electric lighting filled the arena as confetti fell from above, creating the ultimate climax to a dynamic and spirited evening of live music.
Eilish has crafted a flawless set list for her second world tour, creating great levels throughout the show, with a mix of high energy tracks that are complimented with the more subdued cuts that still dripped with palpable energy. The moments where Eilish hit notes that matched what we hear on her records sent fans into a frenzy. Her magnetic performance made the audience feel like they too could dance and jump from start to finish. Eilish really knows how to put on a show, it’s been a while since a concert felt almost like a party. Maybe even a celebration. Whilst you could say some of her latest work has shifted direction, the overall performance was a comprehensive display of Billie Eilish, who she is as an artist and as a person. The combination of staging, lighting and set list curation made it a show that was unforgettable. Eilish created moments that will stay with you for a lifetime.
BILLIE EILISH HAPPIER THAN EVER, THE WORLD TOUR
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND SEPTEMBER 2022
Final tickets on sale now!
Presented by Chugg Entertainment, Frontier Touring & Live Nation
Wednesday 14 September Qudos Bank Arena | Sydney, NSW With special guest Dora Jar ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Thursday 15 September Qudos Bank Arena | Sydney, NSW With special guest Sampa The Great ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Saturday 17 September Brisbane Entertainment Centre | Brisbane, QLD With special guest Sampa The Great ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Sunday 18 September Brisbane Entertainment Centre | Brisbane, QLD With special guest Sampa The Great ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Monday 19 September Brisbane Entertainment Centre | Brisbane, QLD With special guest Dora Jar ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Thursday 22 September Rod Laver Arena | Melbourne, VIC With special guest Dora Jar ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Friday 23 September Rod Laver Arena | Melbourne, VIC With special guest Dora Jar ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Saturday 24 September Rod Laver Arena | Melbourne, VIC With special guest Sampa The Great ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Monday 26 September Rod Laver Arena | Melbourne, VIC With special guest Sampa The Great ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Thursday 29 September RAC Arena | Perth, WA With special guest Sampa The Great ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49
Friday 30 September RAC Arena | Perth, WA With special guest Sampa The Great ticketek.com.au | Ph: 13 28 49