Local Current Blog

Review and photos: Billie Eilish draws devoted fans to the Armory in Minneapolis

Photos by Emmet Kowler for MPR

At the age of 17, Billie Eilish drew a devoted sold-out crowd to the 8,400-capacity Armory in Minneapolis on Saturday night. Eilish released her debut studio album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? on March 29. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.

Eilish brought her signature visuals — many of which she had a hand in creating — to the show in the form of animations on the large screens behind her on stage. The bed featured on the album cover (and in the music video for “Bury a Friend”) was also present and could be seen hanging from the ceiling.

The show was all ages, and unsurprisingly the crowed skewed young; a lot of teenagers were there with their parents. Many people in the crowd clearly drew inspiration from Eilish’s distinctive fashion sense, wearing baggy shirts, big shorts, and bucket hats. Scattered throughout the crowd were the bucket hats being sold at the merch booths, which featured Eilish’s face on a thousand-dollar bill.

The show opened with an animation of a faceless girl, spiders, and a monster of sorts. Cheers erupted as the two band members entered. Eilish then came out and performed “Bad Guy.” You could barely hear her singing at first, because the majority of the crowd was singing along. If a song tailed off with instrumentals, it would be drowned out by the cheers of the crowd.

When you could hear Eilish’s vocals in the juiced-up arrangements, though, they were definitely on point. Eilish herself was a bit hard to see if you weren’t in a balcony or up in the front. There was a raised platform, but she didn’t stay on it all that often, preferring to jump around the stage. Eilish actually has shin splints, probably from all the jumping around she does.

“My f—ing shin splints are acting up now. You know how annoying that is right now?” Eilish said after performing “&burn.”

Eilish was personable with the crowd, voluble between songs. Early on in the show, she had everyone take a large step back to alleviate some of the intense crowding. “Gotta let each other breathe,” she said. “Damn.”

During the song “I Love You,” Billie and her brother Finneas sat on the bed, because that’s how they wrote it: in their room with a guitar and just the two of them. Finneas produced the album and co-wrote the songs with Billie, being a musician himself. The bed rose throughout the song as the crowd shone flashlights and lighters at the sibling duo.

Throughout the 75-minute set, Eilish played songs from the new album as well as songs off her 2017 debut EP dont smile at me. Whatever the song, there were plenty of people singing along to every word. Eilish closed the show raised on the bed to sing “Bury a Friend.” She walked off to the closing track from the album, “goodbye.”

The touring pairing of Eilish and rapper Denzel Curry may not seem like the most obvious pairing, but it worked really well. Curry’s high energy and fast rapping were enough to get the crowd going from the first song. The floors of the Armory were bouncing during much of Curry’s set.