Billie Eilish played an intimate live show in London and paused the set multiple times to help fans who were struggling in the crowd.
The last-minute surprise gig was held at the Electric Ballroom venue in Camden last night (August 29) and saw the pop star play to a packed audience, tease rarities and bring out special guests.
Eilish announced details of the show on Saturday (August 26) — the day after she headlined the opening night of Leeds Festival, and just before she closed Reading 2023. Unsurprisingly, tickets sold out almost instantly, and some fans even camped outside the venue the night before.
However, those lucky enough to snatch tickets soon clamoured to get as close to the artist as possible, resulting in the set being brought to a halt multiple times.
The first instance came during the third track of her 20-song setlist, ‘Therefore I Am’, when Eilish paused twice mid-performance, to check on members of the crowd and urge members of security to pass out water.
“Can we get some water for these folks?” she asked, looking around for members of staff to help the eager audience. “Like where is security? Am I security now?”
“I haven’t played a small venue in literally six years. I’ve forgotten how to do this… I’m having an anxiety attack right now,” she continued, looking around with concern as crammed audience members asked her for water. “This felt like a good idea… Once. You guys look like you’re gonna die, take a step back.”
This was the first of multiple times the singer stopped the show out of concern for fan safety, later criticising the supposed lack of security in the venue.
“Fucking jeez Louise. No one is answering me,” she shouted into the microphone later in the set after asking if anyone could supply water to the struggling crowd members.
“It’s been a minute since we’ve done this,” she said, again insisting everyone take a step back before she continued the set. “Who needs an inhaler? I feel like I’m babysitting. Do you feel ok for me to keep going?”
In the set, Eilish played multiple fan-favourites, including ‘bad guy’, ‘Happier Than Ever’ and ‘bury a friend’, as well as teasing lesser-played tracks including ‘My Boy’.
Highlights of the set came when the artist invited not just one but two special guests onto the stage for a collaboration. The first of which was singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer, Labrinth, who joined the 21-year-old for a rendition of their track ‘Never Felt So Alone’.
The second came just two tracks later, when Eilish brought Boygenius to the stage for a performance of ‘When The Party’s Over’.
Elsewhere in the show, Eilish also told fans about her first-ever headline show in London, and the difference between playing huge festivals compared to the smaller venues. For the latter, she also admitted that although she finds it “terrifying” to play to such a small audience, she plans to embark on a tour of exclusively small venues at some point in the future.
The concert at Electric Ballroom was a stark contrast to the headline sets she played at Reading & Leeds Festival over the weekend.
At the Sunday set at Reading 2023, NME gave Eilish four stars for her closing performance at the three-day event, describing the performance as one that “cements [her] place as a festival legend”.