the king of marvin gardens (bob rafelson, 1972)
creature feature: the curse of frankenstein (terence fisher, 1957)

billie eilish, h.e.r., and adele

On Saturday, Billie Eilish performed a live-streaming concert. It was amazing ... Eilish was in fine form, but the thing that got people's attention was the special-effects production. While Eilish, Phineas, and their drummer spent the entire show on one stage (this wasn't apparent at first), a group of effects wizards transformed the visuals with every song. I don't know how they did it ... I was halfway through the show before I realized Billie wasn't going anywhere, that there was really only one trick, to make the stage look like something other than what it was, but there was a new version of the trick for each tune. It was an imaginative way to accept that a virtual live-stream concert is not the same as a live show with an excited audience.

There was nothing unusual about the setlist:

Bury A Friend / You Should See Me In A Crown / My Strange Addiction / Ocean Eyes / Xanny / I Love You / ilomilo / No Time To Die / When The Party’s Over / All The Good Girls Go To Hell / Everything I Wanted / My Future / Bad Guy

Eilish was good enough, the show would have worked fine without the effects, and "No Time to Die" remains a killer. It wasn't entirely "live" ... there were backing tracks, but that kind of added to the artificial presentation. She also pushed a message of "VOTE!", and via effects had a couple of songs where fans on the stream were shown on big video screens singing along. For much of what remained of Saturday, Eilish was a topic of discussion, pretty much all of it positive. It would be great to offer some video examples, but as of this writing, they are all being taken down as quickly as they go up.

Later, on Saturday Night Live, Adele appeared as the host. Adele hadn't been on American TV since 2017, and her last album came out in 2015. But she's been missed ... as Rolling Stone said, "Adele Reminds the World Why We Need Her More Than Ever". When Adele sings, she doesn't need special effects ... her voice is her special effect. (Billie Eilish, a different kind of singer, startles us when she hits the high note in "No Time to Die", but Adele hits those notes regularly. Neither is better, but different.)

She insisted in her monologue that she was only hosting, that she wouldn't be singing. There was a musical guest for that, H.E.R., and she was great:

But SNL and Adele got sneaky during one skit, and it got more admiring chatter than even Eilish's remarkable show.

The winner was the audience, entertained and more by three vital women artists.


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