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.

  • Exceptional American

    Modern music is so fucking bad. Everyone who went to that concert is what’s wrong with the world.

    • John

      Said every generation ever about the next generation’s musical taste.

      • Exceptional American

        To some extent but with the advent of computer technology, auto tune etc it has never taken less talent to create music and the quality has significantly gone down. In previous generations you at least had great musicians. Now you have programmers who can just click buttons and find sounds they like without learning any music theory.

        • John

          I wonder how much music theory Elvis, the Rolling Stones, or the Beatles had before they started creating their own sounds (I only wonder a little – not enough to look it up). Moving a little newer, I suspect Kurt Cobain had little formal music theory training. Bob Dylan . . . more of a poet, really.

          MTV saw to it that it wasn’t enough be good at music, you had to be pretty too (actually, if 80’s hair metal is any indicator, you didn’t have to be good at music, it was enough just to be “pretty”).

          I’m sure people said the same things when synthesizers first came on the scene. I’d be surprised if that wasn’t also said when the guitar went electric.

          In some ways, we’ve moved from the age of the musician to the age of the producer. I’m not making any sort of moral judgement on it – tastes change. The general population doesn’t listen to 20’s style ragtime in any significant way any more. Same thing for the WWII pop music. The sounds that people enjoy listening to will continue to evolve in ways that will speak to some and not to others.

          Autotune is just another tool in the toolbox of a person with a sonic vision. Some wield the tool effectively and to interesting effect. Others use it as a crutch. Computer generated sounds fall in the same bucket for me.

          I’ll respectfully remove myself from your lawn now. :).

    • Martini

      I welcome our new musical expressions. There is no evolution without change.

      • Exceptional American

        There is no devolution without change either. I welcome actual innovation not a fundamental rejection of centuries of musical theory, instrumentation and a complete ground up redefining of
        music using talentless, off the shelf, build a song, automated computer algorithms and programs. You have musicians now who can’t even express any Melody, don’t understand scales and keys.

        I welcome good musical expression. Not Billie Ellish or auto tune crap. It is absolutely unimaginably bad music. So bad that anyone who likes her music is a flawed human being. It is that bad.

  • Chris Geller

    Why is the Current Blogging about a pop show?

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