Billie Eilish Live at the O2: Extended Cut was a one-day, worldwide showing of her London performance that happened on Jan. 27. This show was previously only live-streamed by the Apple Music Live series. I, for one, was quite excited to see professional footage of a full tour performance that wasn’t audience free like her previous A Love Letter to Los Angeles on Disney+. The exclusive, never before seen extended cut quickly prompted crowds worldwide to lose their decorum completely.
First, a word about the film itself: the recording of her June 26 show was pretty great, and I enjoyed watching her performance with an actual crowd, as well as the work put into the visuals on the screens behind her. There were shots from all angles that showcased Billie, the two-person band, the stage, and the massive audience. The coolest part of the stage was the screen floor which flowed seamlessly into the vertical screen visuals. It was especially creative during “NDA,” where the screens showed a moving street similar to the music video. The setlist was enjoyable, and each of her eras was thoroughly showcased, from “don’t smile at me” to “When We All Fall Asleep” to her most recent, “Happier Than Ever.” I admit I can’t even remember many specific details because I was distracted for much of the show… more on that later.
The film started with two of her music videos for “Happier Than Ever” and “NDA.” The theatre crowd seemed confused at first but slowly started to get hyped. The video itself was pretty quiet. I’m not sure if that’s just how it was mastered or if this particular theatre at the Scotiabank Cineplex had the volume down a notch — I could hear the gentle hums from the crowd around me. Since I got tickets a week before the show, I was wondering what the crowd atmosphere would be like — would people sing along quietly or should I expect screaming and yelling?
Following the music videos, we watched a blown-up, low-quality phone video of Billie thanking us for coming out to watch the film. At least, that’s all I could make out when it quickly prompted the theatre audience full of 12-year-old girls to start shrieking at the top of their lungs. I was quite shocked to witness groups of very young children crowding around by the screen at the front of the theatre. By the finale, these kids had mosh pits, screamed out obscenities, huddled and cried in a circle, and sung along to some very sexual lyrics. The whole time I was thinking to myself, “where are these kids’ parents?!” To my surprise, they were on the side, taking photos and videos of their children, giggling at the sight of their kids utterly disrespecting the rules of the cinema.
I’m not a Grinch, and I wasn’t fuming throughout the whole thing. I enjoyed myself and had a good laugh at the kids. It was the last thing I expected, but I guess it’s cool to see people who are so passionate about music. Personally, I think this behaviour should be saved for concerts and the club. Only six years away from 18, kids!