Billie Eilish is celebrating the holiday season in her native Los Angeles, with a few thousand of her nearest and dearest.
On Dec. 13, the GRAMMY-winning musician kicked off her Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever, The Hometown Encore tour at The Kia Forum in Inglewood, to a sold-out crowd. Eilish has two additional sold-out gigs at the Forum on Dec. 15 and 16.
While there were no opening acts, just a pre-show soundtrack of classic Christmas tunes. Over the course of two hours, the 20-year-old ran through more than 30 songs on a stage that seemed to be fully constructed from LED screens.
She was not shy about displaying her youthful vigor, jumping in the air, doing the splits, jaunting around with the mic stand like a classic '70s rocker. Even while sitting on the floor during slow songs or confined to a small platform atop a crane as she floated around the arena, Eilish maintained her stage presence to the point that no one could take their eyes off her.
Opening night of the tour showcased how Eilish has stepped into her status as an international superstar — an echelon she continued to climb even as the pandemic marred the release of 2021's Happier Than Ever. She kept very busy in the interim of the COVID-plagued industry, releasing live concert films taped at The Hollywood Bowl, sharing a documentary detailing her previous touring cycle, doing collaborations with Nike, branding new fragrances, and recording an Oscar-winning entry into the legacy of James Bond themes: "No Time To Die."
Then the restrictions cleared, gatherings were permitted, and postponed dates were solidified, and so she hit the road, playing over 75 shows in almost eight months across four continents (she’s visiting the fifth, South America, in 2023), and that number doesn’t include her headlining slots at festivals like Coachella 2022.
Although Eilish performed at both weekends of Coachella 2022 — which, despite its location in Indio, is an L.A. festival for all intents and purposes — her performance within city limits took her infamous energy to a new level. Built on a combination of the considerable experience she gained as a performer in 2022 and her unfettered love for her hometown, Eilish truly seemed happier than ever onstage. Read on for five moments Billie Eilish showed Los Angeles that there is no place home.
Billie Gets Jazzy With Tunes New And Old
Billie Eilish is an artist born into a generation that doesn’t give a darn about genres. With Spotify and other DSPs, everyone has access to every genre in the palm of their hand, and she’s been influenced by all of them — including jazz.
While her music may not fit a jazz aesthetic, Eilish has begun to implement more artistic improvisation into her vocal delivery. A lilt to close a phrase here; a small riff between verses there. The improvisation demonstrates her continued ownership over the songs, and Eilish's ease with manipulating them.
Such skills came front and center during two songs in particular: "my future" (her first time performing it on this tour) and "Billie Bossa Nova." Had there not been thousands of fans screaming every word, Billie’s intricate vocal work could have turned the forum into an intimate jazz lounge for a few minutes.
Listened To Her Fans, And Went Deep Into Her Catalog
In the days leading up to the shows, Billie took to Instagram to ask fans what songs she should perform, because "these shows are for you!"
On Dec. 13, Eilish performed "xanny," the second track on WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO? and one she hadn't performed in four years.
There’s no way to know whether she decided to perform "xanny" because her fans requested it, though it was one of the most unifying moments in the entire show.
If only she had also done "wish you were gay," which is what I sent to her through Instagram.
She Climbed "Mount Everest" With Some Friends
When Billie says she has a song stuck in her head, everyone in the crowd knows she’s going to sing it.
So when she referenced Labrinth's "Mount Everest," everyone knew what was coming — yes, that includes Labrinth’s appearance. Eilish said she was going to make the shows special, and that just had to include some of her friends.
Labrinth’s music is as titanic as it is poignant, and it may be hard to believe the sweet-voiced Eilish could match his intensity. But she did so with aplomb, especially when she took on the duties for the verse of Labrinth’s song for the "Euphoria" soundtrack, "I’ve Never Felt So Alone."
For "I’ve Never Felt So Alone," the crowd was singing along instead of screaming along. The screams were welcome for the rest of the set, but it was simply impossible not to take it down a notch and be in your feelings in that moment.
Apparently, Finneas Sneezed
Eilish's creative relationship with her brother Finneas — her co-writer, producer and band member — took center stage during the acoustic portion of her performance.
Finneas admitted that he had sneezed on his sleeve earlier, and was worried everyone could see the remnants when he took a seat on his stool next to his sister under the direct front lighting. At this admission, Billie started laughing with sheer glee. Then Finneas started laughing at her.
It may sound like innocuous stage banter, but it’s a kind of chemistry that’s infectious. It was a powerful, honest moment that highlighted the unique chemistry required to make this music.
Everyone in the crowd felt it, and the acoustic versions of "i love you," "Your Power" and "TV," were just as powerful and honest.
Santa Eilish Or Billie Clause?
Billie Eilish was full of holiday cheer, giving not just the gift of music but actual gifts for the audience as well.
From atop a raised platform that moved throughout the arena, where she performed three songs, Eilish took candy from a stocking and threw it into the crowd. Before the final song of the night, "Happier Than Ever," she pulled out a bag of gifts and threw what looked like t-shirts into the crowd as well.
This came after she performed an actual Christmas song —"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
Billie is an artist who keeps her family close, and the holidays are a time of family. At her Happier Than Ever, The Hometown Encore, everyone in the audience felt like they were a part of the Eilish family…if only for a couple of hours.
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