Billie Eilish Shines in Long-Awaited Return to Detroit (SHOW REVIEW)

Photo by Andrew Potter/313 Presents

Billie Eilish intended to perform in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena on the Where Do We Go? World Tour in 2020, but the pandemic had other plans. At long last, the singer made her triumphant return to the Motor City on March 12th for a sold-out stop on the Happier Than Ever, The World Tour. When she popped up from below the stage, a sea of thousands of screaming fans unleashed a deafening roar. Here are five moments that stood out from the show:

The Two Ground Rules

As Eilish wrapped up “lovely,” she explained there were only two rules for her show: “Don’t you dare judge anyone in here” and “Have fun, bitch!” The crowd unabashedly let loose from the get-go, bouncing to opening track “bury a friend,” screaming along to “you should see me in a crown,” and crouching all the way to the floor before exploding upwards in unison on Eilish’s command on “GOLDWING.” 

Visuals & Lighting

The show didn’t rely on any elaborate set pieces, but featured some impressive top-down lighting effects and visuals that affected how the stage floor itself appeared to the audience. For instance, “idontwannabeyouanymore” made it look like Eilish was walking on gently flowing water; “my strange addiction” featured a vivid red color palette and intense lasers that framed the singer as she contorted on the floor; and “all the good girls go to hell” amplified her dire message on climate change with visuals that made the stage look like a fiery hellscape.  

Acoustic Break & Vocal Showcases

Eilish’s brother and collaborator, Finneas, has been touring with instrumental support, and in the middle of the set, the siblings shared the stage for a low-key acoustic interlude. This segment began with the two harmonizing over the gentle strum of Finneas’ acoustic guitar on “i love you,” the first time this track had been played on this tour. Other slower ballads like “Halley’s Comet” and the James Bond theme “No Time to Die” showcased Eilish’s powerhouse, soaring vocals, as well. 

Getting a Lift

The video interlude of “Not My Responsibility” gave Eilish the cover of darkness to briefly disappear from the main stage. Suddenly, a blur of motion flew down the barricade toward the back of the floor. The singer reached a separate B-stage area where she loaded into a crane lift. As the crane made a wide arc throughout the crowd, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house – the singer was elevated close to the lower bowl and even high enough to be easily visible to the upper deck. Illuminated by a constellation of cell phone lights and surrounded by waving fans, Eilish impressed with the gentle croon of her early single “ocean eyes.”    

Finishing Strong

As Eilish returned to the main stage to finish out the set, she shifted gears with “Getting Older,” buoyed by heartwarming home video footage of her and her family growing up. She finished the show with the stellar one-two punch of “bad guy,” followed by “Happier Than Ever.” The former featured a huge clap-along in the audience and a hefty riff courtesy of Finneas. As she strutted down the extension of the main stage into the heart of the floor, the fans eagerly bounced along to her every move. As the track ended, a sea of confetti floated down on the audience, and Eilish shifted into the slow-burning intro to “Happier Than Ever.” As the song kicked into high gear, the singer provided one more moment of pure catharsis for the crowd. As she commanded the audience to sing, beckoning with outstretched arms, the fans responded in unison with a huge roar for the “you made me hate this city” line, as she furiously headbanged to Finneas’ next screaming riff.  

As she reached the final phase of the show, Eilish shouted for the crowd to “give me every ounce of energy you have for the rest of the night,” and for the full duration of the set, Detroit eagerly answered the call.  

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