Glastonbury 2022: Billie Eilish makes history with Pyramid Stage headlining performance

Academy Award-winner Billie Eilish stormed the Pyramid Stage in a headlining performance worthy of its spot
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Whether a fan of Billie Eilish or not, it is remarkable how historic Eilish’s music has been, and how fast a rise it is for the singer who headlines Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage.

That intense talent has been charted by many, and there is good reason to reiterate it as she takes on her second-ever Glastonbury performance.

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Atmosphere is crucial to a headlining performance, and the flashing lights that open Eilish’s performance feel more suited to a stadium tour rather than the fields of Somerset. Good.

Opening with Bury a Friend compliments the lights more than it does Eilish, whose work has shifted so far in tone from her debut album days - but it’s a good marker for the opening.

It’s a full-circle performance that builds on Eilish’s previous appearance at Glastonbury in 2019.

Day three of Glastonbury was closed out by the youngest Pyramid Stage headliner in historyDay three of Glastonbury was closed out by the youngest Pyramid Stage headliner in history
Day three of Glastonbury was closed out by the youngest Pyramid Stage headliner in history

Having Eilish as the first night headliner is a no-brainer, but it still does feel a bit startling given how wildly different a style and musicianship she provides to Sam Fender, who stormed the stage just an hour before her.

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At times Eilish’s headline spot feels like a light show with music attached to it rather than a highlighting of how solid her lyrical musings are.

But that is the headline response, a big light show and some bombastic moments to give the crowd something to write home about, so long as they can see what they’re writing as they’re blasted by strobe lights, fire cannons and laser beams.

Still, it’s the atmosphere, isn’t it? Eilish responds to that big arena style exceptionally well and her vocal talents are clear to hear throughout this set.

Highlights come from Therefore I Am which sees some superb back and forth between crowd and singer, and, of course, Bad Guy, but it’s the surprise inclusion of Goldwing that stands out best of all.

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Eilish has a clear and obvious talent for headline-worthy performances, sampling lines relating to Michael Scott and The Office and building it into a superb rendition of My Strange Addiction borders on a genius that will relate to the new generation of music Eilish is helming.

Pairing all of these elements together, the high of seeing Glastonbury return to its proper form, new chart-topping tracks and a young headliner is the perfect mix to bring those on the fence about Eilish’s music around to giving Happier Than Ever another listen.

That may be the issue for some, though, Eilish is an artist that outperforms her studio work.

Breakneck pacing is matched by Eilish’s talent to turn energetic moments into melodic, slower mixes of idontwannabeyouanymore, marking a strong first night of the Pyramid Stage, with its youngest-ever headliner taking centre stage.

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