With just a few hours notice, a line at Amoeba Hollywood had formed all the way around the block. But patrons weren’t queued for an exclusive record release; instead, they were there for an impromptu live performance from 20-year-old Grammy award-winning singer Billie Eilish.
This weekend, her second studio record, “Happier Than Ever,” celebrates its one-year anniversary, and on Friday afternoon she took to her iconic hometown record store to perform an acoustic set of selections from the record.
More from Variety
Fans crowded every nook and cranny of Amoeba’s new Hollywood location to see the singer play a four-song set. Finneas, the singer’s brother, producing partner and tourmate, joined her onstage with an acoustic guitar and supporting vocals. After opening with “Billie Bossa Nova” and performing “TV” off her recent “Guitar Songs” EP, Eilish left it up to the crowd to decide the next song, which resulted in an impassioned shouting match that settled on “Getting Older.” Finally, the dynamic energy of the record’s title track translated incredibly well into acoustic form, spurring an inspired crowd singalong that Eilish effortlessly led as the set’s closing number. At the end of the performance, the singer thanked the crowd and left fans with the most Billie Eilish mic drop possible: “And happy ‘Happier Than Ever’ anniversary, bitch.”
Between songs, Eilish thanked fans for coming out on very short notice to see her and Finneas play, noting that the one-year anniversary of “Happier Than Ever” also falls on her brother’s 25th birthday.
Reflecting on the record’s anniversary, Eilish told the crowd: “You guys are just the best. It’s been the most amazing year, and you’ve been so sweet and respectful about this album, and I just love you!”
Amoeba employees told Variety that 500 tickets were sold for the surprise show in addition to various guests that were invited — an immensely different performance environment than the 10,000+ capacity arenas Eilish has been comfortably selling out on tour. Still, Eilish and Finneas brought enthusiasm, professionalism and polish to the intimate set, providing an engaging musical experience to the fans in attendance.
The siblings are in the middle of a month-long break from their “Happier Than Ever” world tour in support of the record, which kicked off in early February at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center and is slated to conclude at the end of September in Perth, Australia. Eilish’s most recent Los Angeles outing prior to the Amoeba set was a bombastic three-date stretch at the Kia Forum in early April, which Variety‘s Chris Willman praised for its expansive setlist and Eilish’s ability to make her shows serve as positive thinking spaces for her fans.
“Happier Than Ever” was released on July 30, 2021 through Darkroom and Interscope Records and saw immediate commercial success, with 238,000 first-week sales and a No. 1 debut atop the Billboard 200. Songs like “Therefore I Am” and “Your Power” broke out as popular singles, while the title track has become a well-established show-closer on tour and at recent festival sets. The record received Grammy nominations in the Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album categories.
— Variety (@Variety) July 29, 2022
Best of Variety