Happier Than Ever: Billie Eilish

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the following article are based on the writer’s personal opinions.

1. Intro

“You made me hate this city”

Her name was on the lips of every single person in the stadium as the infamous line from Eilish’s hit song “Happier Than Ever” echoed throughout the stadium. The anticipation inched closer and closer to a boiling point as the strobe lights flashed and smoke enshrouded the stage. But, Eilish wasn’t going to cave in so easily to the whims of the over 25,000 screaming fans. Ever the tease, she let the excitement build to a climax before jumping onto stage seemingly out of nowhere to be greeted by the throng of starstruck fans who were ecstatic about being able to see the seven-time Grammy-winning artist in the flesh. At that moment, the hours of queuing up under the scorching hot sun and hundreds of ringgit spent on tickets seemed like the best decisions they had ever made.

2. bury a friend

It was as though the entire stadium had been struck by lightning- the electricity coursing through their veins contorting their limbs to the beat of the music. As Eilish pranced around the stage in her baggy red T-shirt and bicycle shorts, singing the words “I wanna end me”, the crowd lost their minds and screamed at the top of their lungs. The 20-year-old singer kept the crowd enraptured throughout the song with her magnetic stage presence; urging them to clap along during the chorus and vehemently screaming the lyric “When we all fall asleep, where do we go?” at the tail end of the hit song.

3. I Didn’t Change My Number

The singer then eased into a number from her latest album where she crooned about how all that glitters isn’t gold when it comes to significant others. Judging by the number of people who belted the lyrics to the song, it is safe to say that many could relate to Eilish’s experience of waking up from the spell of lust and coming to terms with the true nature of her partner. However, there was not an ounce of sadness in the singer’s delivery as she cheekily sang “I didn’t change my number, I only changed who I reply to” while red and blue lasers flashed across the stage.

4. NDA

“You couldn’t save me, but you can’t let me go, oh no”

“I can crave you, but you don’t need to know, oh-oh”

As the stage morphed into a dark road- a callback to the NDA music video – Eilish crouched down and delivered the first verse of the hit song sotto voce. However, it was apparent that the crowd wasn’t well acquainted with the song as the stadium was relatively silent during the first minute or so, prompting Eilish to say “If you know it, sing along”. This seemed to do the trick, as everyone sang along and amped up their energy during the chorus. Emotion seeped out of every crevice of the singer’s voice as she desperately craved answers from her past lover by singing “Did I take it too far?” and alluded to how even her love life had been tainted by her meteoric rise to fame. Although no one in the stadium could relate to Eilish’s tug of war with stardom, the earnestness in Eilish’s voice was enough to drive a stake through the hearts of each and every one of them.

5. Therefore I Am

“You think that you’re the man”

“I think, therefore I am”

If there’s anyone who can make quoting a 17th-century philosopher cool, it’s Billie Eilish. Confidence oozed from every pore of the singer as she sang about how she didn’t give a damn about what other people thought of her and that she was on a higher plane than the rest. Eilish lit up the stage and proved just how much of a chokehold she had on her fans when she got down on her knees and started slinking across the stage. Needless to say, everyone lost their minds and screamed frantically. However, most of the craze was concentrated in the pit as those in the seated section had to crane their necks to decode the source of the shrieks.

6. my strange addiction

Before moving on with her next song, Eilish checked in with her fans- almost letting slip a swear word in the process:

“How we doing? Everybody in this mother- in this place, are you good? Are you ready to have some fun?” Billie Eilish

After making sure that everyone was doing alright, she performed the catchy song which was interpolated with snippets of dialogue from the sitcom “The Office”. The singer’s voice had a captivating lilt to it as she playfully flirted with the audience while flitting across the stage. She then proceeded to turn the heat up further by dropping to the ground and gyrating, driving the crowd wild in the process.

7. idontwannabeyouanymore/lovely

“Don’t be that way”

“Fall apart twice a day”

“Isn’t it lovely, all alone”

“Heart made of glass, my mind of stone”

The red lasers turned blue and the groovy beat ebbed into a melancholic tempo. Eilish wore her heart on her sleeve as she sang about crumbling under the weight of her insecurities in “idontwannanbeyouanymore”, and yearning to escape from her self-inflicted prison in “lovely”. These songs appeared to resonate with the crowd, as everyone was united by the collective burden of life, with quavering voices singing along while tears were shed. 

8. you should see me in a crown

After the whirlwind of emotions she put everyone through, Eilish injected a dose of energy into the crowd by urging them to feel as crazy as they could possibly feel and jump around. And, it worked like a charm! The crowd was amped as Billie brought the house down with a powerful rendition of “you should see me in a crown”. The infectious beat had everyone swaying back and forth while lyrics like “I’m gonna run this nothing town” and “Watch me make em’ bow”, had everyone feeling like a total badass.

9. Billie Bossa Nova

While her brother strummed the guitar, Eilish the Enchantress put the audience in a trance with the sensuous “Billie Bossa Nova”. Her voice dripped with honey as she seduced the crowd with the lyrics “I’m not sentimental but there’s something bout’ the way you look tonight” and “Won’t take a lot to get you goin’”. The atmosphere was intimate- it felt like she was serenading you and there was no one else in the room, like a private concert of your own.

10. Goldwing

It was as though the angels had descended from heaven… then, the headbanging beat kicked in. Although the song is arguably one of the least popular songs off her latest album, it was a treat to witness it live. It had everyone bopping along to the beat and screaming “Da-da-down-down, da-da-down-down” as loudly as they could. However, the silence during the other parts of the song indicated that most weren’t familiar with the song, which is a downright shame as Eilish masterfully tackles the concept of purity in today’s society-especially in Hollywood- with profound lyrics like “They’re gonna tell you what you wanna hear, then they’re gonna disappear” and “Gonna claim you like a souvenir,  just to sell you in a year”.

11. Halley’s Comet

“I’ve been loved before, but right now, in this moment”

“I feel more and more like I was made for you”

A purple spotlight shone on Eilish as she gave everyone butterflies in their stomach with this sappy song about falling in love. The screen onstage displayed a revolving carousel as she sang about finding someone worth taking down your walls for and opening your heart to. Eilish’s voice sounded almost dreamlike as she described longing for someone so desperately that you can’t sleep or think about anything but them. Love, was definitely in the air that night.

12. Oxytocin (COPYCAT)

Eilish opted for a game of “Billie Says” (trademark: me), instructing the crowd to jump at certain points of the song. The crowd obliged and soon enough, the stadium was vibrating with the thumping feet of 25,000 people as Eilish sang “Oxytocin”. The game continued through “COPYCAT” as well, with Eilish engaging the crowd by making everyone get as low to the ground as they possibly could, before instructing them to jump en masse. The energy in the stadium was at its peak at that moment, with everyone in a collective state of euphoria.

13. ilomilo

And, I don’t wanna be lonely”

“So, show me the way home”

Eilish was on the floor once again as she adopted a childlike innocence in her cadence to convey the feeling of being so dependent on someone that you feel lost without them. The desperation and anguish in Eilish’s delivery of the lyrics were subtle but still packed a heart-wrenching punch.

14. i love you/ Your Power

“You didn’t mean to say I love you”

“I love you and I don’t want to, ooh”

“Will you only feel bad when they find out?”

“If you could take it all back, would you?”

Eilish perched on a stool and invited her brother Finneas, whom she lovingly referred to as her best friend to join her as she performed an acoustic rendition of “i love you” and “Your Power”. It was here that Eilish’s vocals really shone through. While her brother strummed the guitar, Eilish’s voice had a hint of sincerity as she sang the melancholic ballad. This was Eilish at her best- unfiltered and uninhibited. In the equally sad “Your Power”, golden light bathed the star as she strummed her own guitar while singing about how she was taken advantage of in her previous relationship. Eilish found a way to make even the most painful lyrics sound beautiful as she looked in the rearview mirror to see her much older ex for what he really was.

15. The 30th

This was a surprise- a good one of course. Always modest, Eilish admitted that the recently released track was a difficult song to perform live. Eilish was at her most vulnerable here as she sang about a friend of hers who had been involved in a car accident. As she sang the words “But I told you even then, you look so pretty” and “You were scared and so was I” Eilish perfectly captured the messy emotions one feels when a loved one is in danger. She let it all out on the bridge as she masterfully strained her voice to portray the anxiety and then relief she experienced during that ill-fated moment of her life.

16. bellyache/ocean eyes

Eilish went back to her roots as she performed fan favourites “bellyache” and “ocean eyes” from her 2017 EP. In “bellyache” Eilish questioned her sanity while in “ocean eyes”, she hypnotised the crowd by wistfully singing about how she had never “fallen from quite this high”. Needless to say, everyone knew the words to these two songs, and the stadium was filled with thousands of out-of-tune voices singing along.

17. bored

The blue lights made their comeback, setting the stage for yet another gut punch in the form of “bored”. The track, which had been featured on the soundtrack of the TV show “13 Reasons Why” was also a surprise to fans. Eilish only performed a brief snippet from the song, but it was more than enough to give everyone the feels.

18. Getting Older

“Things I once enjoyed”

“Just keep me employed now”

As videos from her childhood played in the background, Eilish tugged on everyone’s heartstrings once again as she sang about the harsh reality of growing up. It was easy to sympathise with Billie, as she beautifully portrayed the all-too-familiar feeling of losing the spark in your life and struggling to let go of your youth. However, it seemed that the enthusiasm of the crowd had wavered as most were quiet during the duration of the song.

19. Lost Cause

This song goes out to anyone who wasted your time,” – Billie Eilish

At this point, Eilish’s hair which had been secured in pigtails at the beginning of the show had descended into complete disarray and sweat glistened on her forehead. But, the show must go on! The singer eased into “Lost Cause”, her vocals taking a backseat as the catchy beat took the wheel. Eilish delivered the song – which details the last straw in a relationship that makes you realise you deserve better- in a calm and collected manner.

20. when the party’s over

Before moving on with her next song, Eilish addressed the crowd, saying:

“So, it’s really very hot. I don’t know if security, you could pass out some waters or something. I think that would mean a lot if it’s possible. And, for this song, I want everyone to take a second to breathe. Check-in with yourself. Are we feeling good?  Are we feeling okay? If we’re feeling sick or like [having a] headache, tell somebody. And, I want us to all take a moment, put down our phones, look at each other, look at me – in the face – and be aware and grateful for… what we have. And, the fact that we’re here and we’re together again. Except, I- this is my first time here, so, this is the first. But I do feel like, I don’t know, I feel like I’ve been here. I feel like I know you guys, so, it’s very familiar. But, everybody take a second, shush. I want you to close your eyes really quick and I want you to know that you’re safe here, and you’re loved and you’re important, and I love ya and I want everyone to take a deep breath, in and out. Here we go, deep breath in and let it out… let’s relax for a second,” – Billie Eilish

She then proceeded to bring even more tears to the eyes of those in the stadium by giving an incredibly raw performance of the hit song.

21. all the good girls go to hell

Eilish unleashed her darker side in “all the good girls go to hell”. Footage of pollution, oil spills, landfills, and global warming graced the screen as Eilish, who was a climate change activist, sang in a way that made everyone feel as though they were in a post-apocalyptic world.

22. everything i wanted

There was a shift in energy as Eilish sang the Grammy-winning song. A testament to the bond between her and her brother, Eilish bared her soul for all to see as she sang about how she could always count on Finneas to be there when she awoke from the darkest of nightmares. It really made you want to reach for your phone and call that special someone in your own life.

23. bad guy

You either hate it or you love it. But, you can’t pretend like you don’t know every single word of the multi-Grammy-winning, smash hit that even Justin Bieber couldn’t resist. Eilish brought the house down with her electrifying performance of the song. Her gravelly voice lent the song a certain spice that you just couldn’t get from the studio version. By the end of the song, you were truly convinced that you were a maneater capable of stealing another girl’s man from right under her nose and seducing your best friend’s dad.

24. Happier Than Ever

“When I’m away from you, I’m happier than ever”

Eilish came full circle by wrapping the night up with the titular track of her sophomore album. Words can’t describe how incredible it was to witness Eilish transition from the tender first half of the song to the rage-fueled second half of the track. It was surreal to watch Eilish slowly unravel to reveal the emotions she had buried deep within. It was a moment of catharsis for every single person in the stadium as Eilish belted the third verse of the song and confetti rained down on her. It was the most epic finale anyone could’ve asked for as everyone in the stadium screamed along with her.

25. goodbye

“This was good. This was a good one. Truly, like I don’t know, you guys gave me one of the best shows tonight, so thank you for that.  I gotta be honest, I was not expecting this energy at all! You guys are so cute!” – Billie Eilish

And just like that, it was over. It is safe to say that the memories from this night will be permanently tattooed on each and every single concertgoer’s mind. Despite hiccups such as a poorly planned seating arrangement and an underwhelming sound system due to the organiser’s poor management, Eilish killed it that night. And, to those who missed the concert, don’t worry, she’ll probably be back soon (or she’ll never come back to Malaysia and you just missed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see her in person). Regardless, Eilish proved to be a force on stage and I think I speak for everyone who was in the Bukit Jalil Stadium on the 18th of August when I say that it was one of the best nights of my life.

“I love you. This has been so much fun. Thank you for having me Kuala Lumpur” – Billie Eilish

Written By: Priyanka

Edited by: Poorani

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