There's a certain kind of fandom that is as rare as a bottle of hand sanitizer on the shelf at Publix in the middle of a coronavirus outbreak. It's that fandom that's unique to teenage girls who have found their icon –
the one who moves their hearts by moving their feet. When a musician reaches that echelon, it's like fireworks going off in a china shop. It's explosive, it's unavoidable, it's awe-inspiring and perhaps a little frightening. And it's, most often, ever so brief. Which makes it even more precious.
Billie Eilish is dead center in the midst of that level of fame as she makes her Orlando debut in front of a sold-out crowd at the Amway Center on the second date of her Where Do We Go? World Tour. As concerts, festivals, sporting events and the like are being canceled in the wake of the fear of sickness, it's an added wonder that this show even happened.
Twenty thousand people and not one face mask to be seen. Sure, the place smelled of sanitizer and Lysol wipes, but other than that the only hysteria in the safe space of this Billie Eilish show was coming from the screams, chants and proclamations of love from the adoring audience … who, incidentally, STOOD UP for the whole nearly two-hour show. Even those seated way up in the nosebleeds were on their feet and dancing! Anyone who can get a crowd engaged from start to finish deserves some serious props, and we're gonna give 'em.
Opening her elaborate stage show by rappelling down from a bed raised high above the stage and diving straight into the trip-hop spook of "Bury a Friend," the girl with the two-toned hair that even your grandma would recognize nailed a perfect show that juggled brilliant beats, those famous beautifully hushed-but-hard vocals, and intricately timed set-piece changes. She soared above the crowd on moving catwalks that tilted and raised. She weaved her way through the crowd to perform a few quieter songs at the piano at a small stage in the back of the arena floor, where she was accompanied by sibling Finneas O'Connell. Throughout, she pummeled Orlando with hit after hit off her debut Grammy Award-winning album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
, bringing the fans to one final boil with the encore of "Bad Guy."
She has the command of an artist well beyond her 18 years, and the kind of stage presence and sense of show that calls to mind Madonna or Lady Gaga. Yet there's a modern edge to Billie Eilish that is unlike anyone else. She makes great dance music, and she could sing a jumper off a ledge with the sweet beauty of her voice, but the mark of a true musician is in the live performance. And Eilish fucking NAILED it.
Opening the show was the remarkable Jessie Reyez, whose bold confidence and arena-shattering pipes preview a future headliner in her own right. The Columbian-Canadian singer-songwriter will be back for her own gig in June, at the Plaza Live, and we strongly suggest you jump on it before she's the one selling out the Amway.
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