AO Arena, Manchester Touring until June 26
Roundhouse, London Touring until June 30
Since lockdown, most crowds have been mad for it, but Billie Eilish’s fans take the biscuit. At 9pm Britain’s biggest indoor arena is shaking with excitement and Eilish hasn’t appeared yet.
When she does emerge, the noise makes you wonder if Beatlemania has come back as Billiemania.
The crowd keep it up all evening. A laser? They scream. A piano solo? They scream. A swear word? They scream. A new song? They go mental.
Since lockdown, most crowds have been mad for it, but Billie Eilish’s (above) fans take the biscuit. When she does emerge, you wonder if Beatlemania has come back as Billiemania
It’s as if 20,000 teenagers have had a second pair of lungs fitted so they can scream while singing along. At The Beatles’ gigs, the reception drowned the music, but today’s sound systems are made of sterner stuff.
Eilish’s songs ring out soft and clear.
Her voice, at first just breathy, has developed fast, and her right-hand man, her brother Finneas, now infuses their synth-pop with folk, country and funk.
They leave out an Oscar-winner, the Bond theme No Time To Die, but it’s barely missed because songs like Oxytocin and Bad Guy are better – and more characteristic.
Eilish is in the great tradition of pop stars who make teenagers (actual or eternal) feel appreciated. She herself, now 20, grows up before our eyes.
At first she’s an impish little sister, bouncing around like a skateboarder. Soon she’s the boss, riding a crane, organising a Mexican wave. By the end she’s a life coach, telling the teens: ‘I want you to know that you are very safe, very loved.’
In two weeks she becomes Glastonbury’s youngest-ever headliner. On this evidence she’ll be fine.
Crowded House’s tour is less of an event but even more of a treat. Neil Finn, fresh from his stint in Fleetwood Mac, shows that an old dog can learn new tricks: at 64 he radiates assurance and sings superbly.
Neil Finn (above), fresh from his stint in Fleetwood Mac, shows that an old dog can learn new tricks on Crowded House’s tour
Flanked by his sons, Liam and Elroy, Finn delivers deliciously layered versions of Four Seasons In One Day, Weather With You and Don’t Dream It’s Over. Crowded House are playing Glastonbury too, at 3.15pm on the Friday. They’re far too good for that.