Following a gloomy week in Kansas City, April 4 brought crisp and clear weather – and a sold-out show by L.A.’s Billie Eilish at recordBar in support of her Where’s My Mind tour. Some of her fans waited for hours in the cold for a chance to be close to their favorite artist. Imperfect Fifth writer Veronica DeFeo and photographer Michael Porter were there to capture the one-of-a-kind evening. Killer performances from openers Reo Cragun and DJ Kiero got the night off to a great start. Reo busted his lip open a few songs in, but he didn’t let that stop him from delivering a fantastic set, much to the delight of the energetic crowd.
Following Reo and Kiero’s set, anticipation was evident as the concert-goers started chanting Billie’s name. In a moment of electric delirium only found at the best of shows, the lights went down and drummer Andrew Marshall and Billie’s brother, Finneas O’Connell, came onstage to an electronic sample of “my boy”, dressed in white coveralls and Billie Eilish kerchiefs. The crowd went insane when Billie came on seconds later, starting off the night with her acclaimed single, “bellyache”. Every voice knew every word, evidencing Billie’s deep connection with her fans. Not skipping a beat, Billie led the crowd into her hauntingly beautiful “idontwannabeyouanymore”, showcasing her velvety vocals. Next up was “watch”, immediately followed by “&burn”, which features Vince Staples on her record, dont smile at me. Billie not only flawlessly sang “watch”, but also took on Vince Staples’ verse from “&burn”.
Billie gave the crowd a chance to fill in some vocals on the next song, “Bored” (which was anything but boring). Fans were eager to give Billie their gifts throughout the set, and Billie expressed her love and gratitude for everyone who came multiple times, letting them know that she would not be where she is without them. Taking a more serious and mature tone, Billie performed an older track, “Six Feet Under”, which displayed not only her vocal talent, but also her lyrical skills. Billie introduced her drummer and brother to the crowd before inviting Finneas to perform his slinky, moody track, “New Girl”. As her producer, co-writer, backing vocalist and guitarist, but most importantly, brother, Finneas is always supportive of Billie, as well as having his own career as lead singer of The Slightlys and starring as Alistair on Glee.
Billie took the stage once again, enthralling the crowd with a unique cover of Drake’s hit song, “Hotline Bling” – on ukulele. In her next song, “party favor”, Billie showcased more of her ukulele skills during the fun track, which also features hitting lyrics. Billie next treated the crowd to an unreleased song, asking them all to be in the moment with her. The track that got Billie discovered, “Ocean Eyes”, was up next, and the crowd got a unique, lighthearted rendition as Billie accidentally bumped a fan with her mic; following this, Billie closed out the song on a stunning note. An electric, flawless performance of fan favorite “my boy” finished her regular set, but Billie wasn’t done yet. After raucous shouts for an encore brought her back onstage, Billie delivered with “hostage” before taking a selfie with the crowd and hugging fans. Billie closed out her show with a rocking performance of “COPYCAT” that did not disappoint. After commanding her fans to get low during the bridge, the crowd went wild with the signal word “sike!”, and the last seconds of the song were unforgettable.
At just sixteen years old, Billie Eilish has accomplished more than many artists dream to at a young age. When she makes up her mind, she gets the job done; despite her youth, Billie knows her craft and how to work a crowd. Her March 4 performance is not one that will be forgotten. Kansas City can’t wait for Billie to come back.
**photos by Michael Porter