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Review: Billie Eilish leaves it all on Glasgow Hydro stage

The American star singer plays for longer than intended without outstaying her welcome.

It’s the dads you feel sorry for. Ambling into the auditorium, sticking close to their kids covered in glitter, wondering how they were roped into coming. Why didn’t mum accompany the children to the Billie Eilish gig?

And there’s a lot of them. There are a lot of people full stop with wide-eyed kiosk staff saying they can’t remember it being that busy for ages.

Outside the Hydro the queues for the stylish merchandise are as long as it is to get into the actual venue with sleeping bags from those wanting to be first in line lying desolate on the ground.

Inside, Jessie Reyez might not be a household name like Eilish but it doesn’t stop her from putting on a prodigious opening act.

The Canadian has talent as big as her oversized plaid shirt. She raps, takes the Mickey out of herself, sings like Joplin and knocks out the Calvin Harris/Dua Lipa track ‘One Kiss’ that she wrote. By the time she asks the crowd to throw their hands in the air, they’re eating out of hers.

There’s a gap between sets which isn’t unusual. It gives a roadie the chance to hoover up the eager confetti that’s landed on the stage before. But it feels to last longer than it should.

Thankfully any fears that there’s a last-minute cancellation on the horizon are smashed to smithereens. The lights go down while the anticipation goes through the roof and after what seems like an entirety Eilish starts with ‘bury a friend.’

She’s got a stellar stage presence, expertly prowling the arena and parading the extended platform.

She’s also got two conflicting albums to dram material from. Her debut, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is the indie awkward goth moment that appeals to the outsiders. Recent release Happier Than Ever found Eilish in a similar vein to Lana Del Ray, breathless Hollywood glamour.

The combination of the two styles compliments each other more live than it does on record, especially when she’s backed by brother Finneas.

She plays perfectly to her fans. If she’s not picking up a bra thrown on the stage she’s draped in a Pride flag or taking the show to those in the seats singing ‘Not My Responsibility’ from a platform on a crane. And she endeavours herself to the entire population of Scotland by constantly proclaiming her love for the country and the accents of its people.

She plays ‘TV’, her take on celebrity and despite the fact it’s only a few days after it’s first been played she has the words sung back at her.

Her show is like watching a teenager spend a weekend in their bedroom and going through the full range of emotions in a condescended period. There’s the angst-ridden moment. The quiet, reflective period. And the bit of jumping around without a care in the world.

Eilish admits it’s been tough for her recently and gets teary-eyed as she thanks the crowd for being just what she needed. And in that instant, as she’s broadcast on giant screens, it’s hard not to feel sorry for her.

It's also hard to forget she’s only twenty years old. Here’s someone who speaks her mind and is passionate about being the voice of those who aren’t usually heard. It’s a lot of responsibility for anyone to take on.

She promises two more songs before changing her mind when presented with bunches of flowers from the audience. Even though it wasn’t planned ‘Lost Cause’ gets a welcome airing. ‘Bad Guy’ the song that catapulted her head first into the mainstream, gets screamed into oblivion by the crowd.

Eilish ends it with ‘Happier Than Ever,’ the tune that mixes her two styles to perfection. There’s the slow, mournful pace of her recent phrase before it picks up the pace and Eilish spits out the remainder of the number with ruthless rage. There are people on the shoulders of others clearly in tears. They won’t be the only ones.

She’s played for longer than intended but didn’t outstay her welcome, understandably, there’s no encore. Both Eilish and her adoring public have nothing left to give.

Even the previously uncomfortable looking dads are impressed. That's how good she’s been.


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