Billie Eilish would have torn the roof off Pier 17 if the outdoor venue had one. Her gig at the Manhattan spot on Tuesday (June 18) was the first of two shows in NYC — she plays the much larger Radio City tonight — and by her 8:30 PM set time, the rooftop was already quaking with anticipation.
It had poured all day in New York City, and ponchos were handed out to concertgoers as they entered the venue. But miraculously, the rain cleared before Eilish came on, which was good news for the thousands of phone cameras, poised to capture every minute of the 19-song set. “New York, how you doing tonight?” she yelled, and it was off to the races.
The Rooftop at Pier 17 holds about 3,400, which seems almost too small for Eilish these days (she joked that there weren’t too many people in the crowd, but liked that this meant she could see everyone), and those in attendance at the sold-out show knew how lucky they were — her next tour will presumably be an arena run, making the Pier downright intimate in comparison. Thus, they eagerly gave Eilish all of their energy and attention.
Backed by haunting visuals, Eilish played most of her No. 1 debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? as well as older favorites like “Bellyache” and “Ocean Eyes.” Most of the crowd was singing along so loudly that you could hear them echoing through the speakers, with “Bad Guy,” “You Should See Me in a Crown” and “Bury a Friend” earning particularly enthusiastic responses.
One of Eilish’s most appealing characteristics is how human she is; at one point, she laid down on the stage, enlisting the audience to help free her hair from its double-bun style. “Girl, I can’t do shit with these nails,” she laughed.
The most emotional moment of the evening came when Eilish paid tribute to a friend on the one-year anniversary of his passing. She asked everyone to put their lights up in honor of him, then sat by brother and collaborator Finneas O’Connell on a floating bed for a heartbreaking rendition of “I Love You.” “We wrote this song on my bed at 2:00 in the morning,” Eilish told the crowd, “and want to perform it the same way we wrote it.”
The singer had to pause during the song to shed a few tears for her fallen friend, and perhaps fittingly, a light drizzle began to fall over the crowd, too.
Billie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep Tour Setlist – June 18, 2019
1. Bad Guy
2. My Strange Addiction
3. You Should See Me in a Crown
7. When I Was Older
8. Wish You Were Gay
10. All The Good Girls Go To Hell
13. Bitches Broken Hearts
14. Listen Before I Go
15. I Love You
16. Ocean Eyes
17. When The Party’s Over
18. Bury a Friend