Four songs in her setlist, Billie Eilish takes a break.
“I have two rules for the night,” she says, speaking to a shrieking crowd of teens, parents and other adults of all ages at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Tuesday. “Rule #1 is… don’t be an asshole and don’t judge anyone in here.” The audience cheers in agreement. “And my second rule tonight is that you have to have fun.” The fans respond with wilder screams as if to prove they’re up to the task.
Following the release of her second studio album Happier Than Ever in July, Eilish is now on an eponymous world tour of which San Francisco is the 26th stop and halfway point. In September, she launched a concert special on Disney Plus called Happier than ever: A love letter to Los Angeles, an intimate performance of their latest songs. Writing about the special, I commented that it’s a beauty to hear them perform live without a crowd drowning out them.
But now, standing in this massive arena with thousands of cheering fans, I feel something unique for this time: camaraderie and hope. For many of us, this is the first major concert we have attended since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill two years ago. We all had to show proof of vaccinations to get in and despite the pandemic still looming, it gave a sense of security, especially with everyone standing so close together in a crowded arena. There’s a sense of much-needed unity and optimism, and Eilish seems determined to ensure nothing stands in the way.
After she sets the ground rules, I feel myself relax and take her words to heart as if they’re coming from a trusted friend. I belt out the lyrics to My Strange Addiction without worrying if anyone will hear me and judge my out of tune voice. This is the largest gathering I have attended in over two years but it feels like the arena is suddenly shrinking and the thousands of people around me and I all share the same desire to have a good time and witnessing the Force is Eilish on stage.
At just 20 years old, the LA-based singer-songwriter has garnered a huge following of people drawn not only to her ethereal voice and music, but also to her bold, unfiltered personality. Earlier in the evening, Eilish told the audience: “It kind of stinks in here. Does it smell kinda musty?” She laughs like she’s joking with her buddies. About 20 minutes later, as she prepares to play her next song, she pauses and says she just noticed something.
“I fucking forgot to brush my teeth,” she laughs. “I’ve got bad breath right now and I literally want to scream.”
Being at a large gathering after years of isolation would feel great, but something about Eilish and her openness makes it an even more extraordinary experience. Without elaborate costume changes and complicated dance routines, she wears an oversized black-and-white t-shirt and matching shorts all night, jumping while belting out her songs and encouraging others to do the same. On stage it’s just her, her brother Finneas on guitar and keyboards and Andrew Marshall on drums.
Eilish’s impressive voice and heartbreaking lyrics made me fall in love with her over three years ago. And given how turbulent the last two years have been, their music – familiar, moving and soothing – has served as a much-needed sanctuary.
But it’s her honesty with fans about her own struggles that has taken my love for her to the next level. Eilish has opened up about grappling with it Anxiety, body dysmorphia, and self-harm, so that people dealing with the same problems feel a little less alone. In her song idontwannabeyouanymore, she sings, “Tell the mirror what you know, what she’s heard before: ‘I don’t want to be you anymore.'” Knowledge her struggles with self-esteem and mental healthit makes it all the more meaningful when she tells the crowd to be thankful that we are all here and alive.
Another song she sings, Your Power, is about people who abuse their power — specifically, men who take advantage of young women. In one part, she sings, “Are you in control? That you keep her in a cage?” After she finishes the song, she reminds the crowd that everyone has power and that it’s important not to abuse it. She admits that even she needs to remind herself sometimes.
Eilish has also grappled with the challenges of fame and dealing with public perception, posing the question on her song Everything I Wanted, “If they knew what they were saying it would go straight to my head, what would they be instead.” say?”
But tonight everything takes a back seat. At the beginning of the show, Eilish tells the audience, “Don’t think bad. Take all the bad thoughts and move on.” She puts her hand to her head and mimics pulling said thoughts out of her head and then letting them go. “I want all of us not to worry about being looked at or being judged or whatever. I want us to just feel free and good no matter how old we are, how young we are, where we are in here. It doesn’t matter, we’re all the same.”
Amidst all the screams and cheers, I feel the tension in my body melt away and I let go of any thoughts of the past or future and focus on how lucky I am to be here now. It’s reassuring to hear those words from someone who knows more than anyone how heavy the world and people’s opinions can weigh on you.
But there is no need to worry about that here. Eilish has created an oasis where fears and anxieties melt away, making space for all of us to enjoy the present moment to the fullest.
“You can put yourself in a mindset not Have a lot of fun, [or] You can put yourself in a mindset to have a good time,” she says. “So let’s have a good time.”
Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’ Tour Is a Cathartic Release for Fans Source link Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’ Tour Is a Cathartic Release for Fans