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Billie Eilish Tells Crowd She Plans to Tour Behind… Her 2017 EP

Chris Willman

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Okay, so it may just have been a way to get some crowd members who were dead-set on calling out requests off her back. But she seemed to mean it. At a show for SiriusXM and Pandora at L.A.’s Troubadour club Wednesday, Billie Eilish made an interesting vow to the crowd: She plans to tour behind “Don’t Smile at Me”… her 2017 EP, released before she became an international sensation.

At the Troubadour show, Eilish did perform a healthy three out of eight songs from that EP (which only this summer came out for the first time on CD, after previously being available only via stream, download and vinyl). But when someone yelled out a request for a fourth one, “My Boy,” the 17-year-old singer laughed and decided it was time to tamp down expectations that she might play her entire catalog during the set. This discouragement came with a tantalizing promise, though.

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“I always see [comments] like, ‘She’s never gonna do these songs ever again and we’re never going to hear them.’ Not true, dude!” she told the crowd. “I’m going to… — eventually, this is eventually — I’m going to do a tour of all the old songs, so don’t worry. I promise. I’ve always wanted to do that. So eventually, in the future, we will do a ‘Don’t Smile at Me’ tour — just wait.”

Older musicians in the crowd could only laugh with envy at the idea of a 17-year-old superstar already having to deal with fans nostalgic for the “old songs” she released when she was 15.

Eilish further admonished the audience to be happy about the 2019 material that dominated her 65-minute show. “So enjoy what’s happening now, okay? Because I don’t want to see [you] in three months like, ‘I miss the old Billie, because now I see I miss the old Billie.’ And bitch,” she added with a big grin, “I’m happy now!”

Happy would have been an understatement for the mood of an audience getting the most intimate show Eilish has done lately or is likely to do any time soon (if you aren’t counting the combination of short acoustic performance and Q&A she’d done the previous night at the Grammy Museum).

This was apparently Eilish’s first time attending, let alone performing at, the Troubadour, which the teen star said she’d “been told” was a legendary venue. Befitting her breakout-of-the-year status, it was the rare gig at the venerable club with TV news trucks parked outside. Her 65-minute set was a reflection of the shows she does at much larger venues and festivals — except that when she and brother Finneas O’Connell sat down for acoustic versions of “I Love You” and “When the Party’s Over,” it was on stools at the lip of the stage, not atop a levitating prop bed.

Eilish interrupted her brief chatter between songs to admit she was becoming slightly self-conscious. “I am so annoying,” she declared, seeming self-amused. “It’s because I’m so close to you guys that I feel like I’m just hanging out with you.”

Thursday’s concert was broadcast live on SiriusXM’s AltNation channel as well as on their app and web player. It was one of two L.A. gigs the satellite service set up to promote the Oct. 6 opening of a new facility in Los Angeles. The other was a Dave Matthews acoustic concert that took place a week earlier at the Garage, a performance space in the new L.A. digs, which were put to use for Matthews despite the lack of any formal ribbon-cutting yet.

If SiriusXM really wants to make an impact with Eilish fans, the satellite radio company can host and broadcast the opening night of the “Don’t Smile at Me” tour, whatever year that might turn out to be.

 

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