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Youngest solo headliner Billie Eilish electrifies Glastonbury with opening set

Billie Eilish (Ian West/PA)
Billie Eilish (Ian West/PA)

Billie Eilish has delivered an electrifying opening to her Pyramid set at Glastonbury, becoming the festival’s youngest solo headliner.

The Grammy-winning singer, 20, made a dramatic entrance on Friday night by being raised from beneath the stage as the crowd of adoring fans chanted her name.

She has so far treated the audience to a selection of hit songs from her two number-one albums, including Bury A Friend, I Didn’t Change My Number, NDA and My Strange Addiction.

Eilish has been giving a typically energetic performance, running and dancing across the stage, wearing a black and white graphic outfit with black striped arm-warmers and her hair in space buns.

After singing Therefore I Am, she said: “Why hello there, how’s it going? I love you guys so much. Are you ready to have some fun?”

She stopped the show briefly after a tender rendition of her song Lovely to check in on each section of the crowd to see how they were doing.

As the singer introduced You Should See Me In A Crown, she urged the audience to leave behind their worries

While she tried to deliver her speech she appeared overwhelmed, as she could barely be heard due to the crowd chanting her name so loudly.

After taking a moment, she instructed the audience to scream out their cares as she said: “Whatever is going on in your mind, anything that’s bothering you, wasting your time thinking about, something that you just can’t get out of your head. I want you to have a f****** tantrum”.

The singer added: “I want everybody to feel loose and free and I don’t want you to give a f*** about anything else except this moment.”

She is performing alongside her brother and co-writer, Finneas O’Connell.

The US pop star made her Glastonbury debut in 2019 when she performed on the Other Stage and treated crowds to a string of tracks such as Bad Guy and You Should See Me In A Crown.

Sam Fender took to the Pyramid Stage before Eilish to play a selection of his popular tracks, including Seventeen Going Under, to a crowd of excited fans waving flags and singing along.

After playing Getting Started, the 28-year-old singer said: “Hello Glastonbury how are we doing?

“Me and the boys have never been here before. We’ve never been here as punters, never played here before and we’re doing that all in one day, which is the most crazy experience.”

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Sam Fender performs on the Pyramid Stage (Ben Birchall/PA)

He performed an array of songs including Will We Talk?, Spice and Get You Down, as fire billowed from the stage.

Fender also treated the crowd to a number of electrifying guitar solos while his band provided accompaniment.

A poignant moment came as the crowd continued to chant the beat of his Ivor Novello-winning song Seventeen Going Under, after he had finished playing it.

Glastonbury Festival 2022
The crowd watching Sam Fender performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival (Ben Birchall/PA)

The Pyramid Stage has already seen a host of talent on Friday, including Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Crowded House, Rufus Wainwright and Wolf Alice – who only just made their performance after their flight from Los Angeles was cancelled.

As acts took to stages across the festival on Friday, Sir Paul McCartney treated fans to a surprise performance at an intimate music venue in Frome, Somerset.

The former Beatle performed at the Cheese and Grain venue ahead of becoming the oldest solo headliner when he takes to the main Glastonbury stage on Saturday, exactly a week after celebrating his 80th birthday.

Earlier on Friday Volodymyr Zelensky described Glastonbury as the “greatest concentration of freedom” as he addressed the festival, calling for the world to “spread the truth” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president spoke via a video message played ahead of The Libertines’ stage-opening set on the big screens at the Other Stage on Friday.

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Video message by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shown to the crowd at the Other Stage during the Glastonbury Festival (Yui Mok/PA)

He finished by saying “Slava Ukraini”, “Glory to Ukraine”, which was met with loud cheers and applause at the stage in Worthy Farm, Somerset.

At the same time, Ziggy Marley opened the Pyramid Stage with a set paying tribute to his father, the late reggae pioneer Bob Marley, who died in May 1981 aged 36 from skin cancer.

As the singer and guitarist, 53, played a number of his father’s hits against a backdrop of photos, Ziggy told the crowd: “It is good to be here. Today, my friends, I am here on behalf of my father.”

Electronic duo The Chemical Brothers announced earlier in the day they had to withdraw from their Friday performance due to member Tom Rowlands still recovering from Covid.

Other acts who performed on Friday included the Sugababes on the Avalon Stage, and Foals and St Vincent on the Other Stage, which also featured Friday performances from Kae Tempest and The Libertines.

Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra also marked their first performance in the UK since their win, with a performance on Shangri-La’s Truth Stage on Friday’s bill.

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