Margaret Court Arena
INSIDE Margaret Court Arena are 6000 Charlie Buckets who know their golden ticket to see Billie Eilish is a very big deal.
For many it’s their first concerts. And for the ones on the floor, their first moshpit.
After an incident at Eilish’s Nova Red Room on Thursday where one fan fainted, causing the show to be stopped, there was a constant supply of water and vigilant security.
This is not Eilish’s team’s first rodeo.
Finneas, Eilish’s brother, was the ideal opening act — and not just because he was backstage (he plays in Eilish’s band). The crowd already love him and despite co-writing Eilish’s songs, he’s got a very different sound on his own material.
He’s a one-man band — using loops and guitar as he stalks the stage.
He airs the song he released that day, I Lost a Friend, and the groove-fuelled Claudia and stunning ballad Break My Heart Again.
One family, so much talent — and all homeschooled. And isn’t it a nice role model for kids to see siblings actually getting on and liking each other?
There’s always a different vibe at concerts filled mainly with teenagers (and pre-teenagers) but this is a different different vibe. Because there hasn’t been a teenage artist like Billie Eilish.
She writes her own material, there’s no super producers, just her brother — making the music in their house.
It’s that authenticity that her fans have latched onto in an era where females, in particular, are airbrushed to perfection and dressed like Kardashians as soon as they reach puberty.
17 year old Eilish is the antidote to all of that. While she grew up loving Justin Bieber, this is also very different to a Bieber concert. Or a One Direction concert.
There’s screaming, but the overriding noise is fans shouting out every single word. Every single inflection. Eilish has a quiet voice anyway, which is drowned out by 6000 guest vocalists.
These are the songs they’ve been streaming incessantly for the last few years, which are now coming to life in front of them.
They lost their minds when a ukulele was carried out on stage and Eilish played 8 — the first time she’s aired the song on this tour.
And make no mistake, for a teen act, this is not One Direction. Listen Before I Go has seriously bleak lyrics closer to Sylvia Plath than Harry Styles — it’s the reason why Eilish is too dark for some teenagers, which seems to be the same reason why those who love her really love her. She’s tapped into the misfit market — again, in the world of perfect Instagram filters, her aesthetic is goth skater chic.
Like Lorde before her, Eilish is making the mainstream come to her. Nova and Austereo are playing Bad Guy but fading the ending out — they missed out on Bellyache, You Should See Me in a Crown, Lovely and When the Party’s Over which are greeted like classics in this audience who, let’s be honest, probably don’t listen to commercial radio.
Her first song, Ocean Eyes, is like hearing Love Me Do compared to the closer, horror movie pop song masterpiece Bury a Friend.
Yet when Finneas joins her at the front of the stage for the breathtaking ballad I Love You, you’re reminded of the power of simplicity and just how quickly and deeply her music has connected. It’s right in front of you.
It’s obvious Eilish won’t be playing venues this size for very long. Rod Laver Arena next door was empty, she could have easily have filled that with the demand for tickets.
And that’s the most exciting thing. She could take this anywhere.
The biggest album in the world this year is a twisted, subversive record that’s going to change the way music is made and open the minds of kids across the globe to other interesting music.
All that means that with Billie Eilish (and Finneas) pop music is in safe hands.