Concert Reviews

Billie Eilish, George Strait, Jon Batiste and the Best of Austin City Limits Week 2

Billie gets up close and personal during her headlining set at ACL Fest.
Billie gets up close and personal during her headlining set at ACL Fest. Rachel Parker
After a a first week that kicked off with Doja Cat, Machine Gun Kelly and Tyler, the Creator, the second week of Austin City Limit's festival started on Friday, and it was a hot one, with its stages burning all weekend long.

On Friday, JXDN (who’s recently been opening on Machine Gun Kelly's tour), ran around the stage in a flash, basking in the glory of walking his first catwalk, which was set up for Miley Cyrus' performance later in the day.
click to enlarge JXDN was enamored with the first Catwalk he's ever been on. - RACHEL PARKER
JXDN was enamored with the first Catwalk he's ever been on.
Rachel Parker

The pop-punk gears were switched all the way with Durand Jones & The Indicators, who brought the funk and soul with their smooth R&B. Those who turned up were treated to a fantastic show.
click to enlarge Durand Jones and the Indicators getting groovy on the T-mobile Stage. - RACHEL PARKER
Durand Jones and the Indicators getting groovy on the T-mobile Stage.
Rachel Parker

Garland’s very own LeAnn Rimes gave a rare performance on the T-Mobile stage and instantly aged the crowd by pointing out that her song “Blue” was turning 25 this year. She also pulled out “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” from the guilty-pleasure movie Coyote Ugly.
click to enlarge LeAnn Rimes feeling the vibes of ACL. - RACHEL PARKER
LeAnn Rimes feeling the vibes of ACL.
Rachel Parker
click to enlarge LeAnn Rimes at ACL. - RACHEL PARKER
LeAnn Rimes at ACL.
Rachel Parker
Austin’s Black Pumas rocked out the Lady Bird stage, giving a golden performance during golden hour. Frontman Eric Burton commanded the audience simply by throwing out good vibes all over the place.

We tried to catch Dallas Queen Erykah Badu, who was scheduled to go on at 7 p.m., but she was so — characteristically — late to her show we didn’t have time to stick it out. She ended up eventually hitting the stage around 7:35 p.m., no doubt blessing the audience who stuck it out to see her if only for a brief set.
click to enlarge The Black Pumas breaking it down for the hometown Austin crowd. - RACHEL PARKER
The Black Pumas breaking it down for the hometown Austin crowd.
Rachel Parker

Finishing out Friday was "King George" Strait, and they don’t call him that for no reason. Once he hit the Lady Bird stage, the country giant delivered hit after hit. Those who'd forgotten just how many top-charting tunes George Strait has had through the years got a reminder. The crowd turned up to see the Texas icon with chairs and blankets spread out past the T-Mobile stage.
click to enlarge George Strait, a true king of country music hits, headlined ACL on Friday Night. - RACHEL PARKER
George Strait, a true king of country music hits, headlined ACL on Friday Night.
Rachel Parker
click to enlarge The crowd turned out for George Strait. - RACHEL PARKER
The crowd turned out for George Strait.
Rachel Parker
click to enlarge George Strait at ACL - RACHEL PARKER
George Strait at ACL
Rachel Parker
Honorary Austinite Jade Bird caught the worm by playing early. Crowds may have expected a folksier set, but the British-born Bird rocked out. So did up-and-coming British performer Holly Humberstone, who started releasing her The 1975-type music right before the pandemic hit and is on her first U.S. tour. 
click to enlarge Jade Bird moved to Austin a few years ago from the UK. - RACHEL PARKER
Jade Bird moved to Austin a few years ago from the UK.
Rachel Parker
click to enlarge Holly Humberstone performed one of her first U.S. sets at ACL fest on Saturday, telling an audience member their "Spit in my mouth" sign was "very special." - RACHEL PARKER
Holly Humberstone performed one of her first U.S. sets at ACL fest on Saturday, telling an audience member their "Spit in my mouth" sign was "very special."
Rachel Parker
Next up was College Station band Surfaces, whose brand of care-free jazzy reggae tunes are the musical equivalent to cotton candy — just as fun in small doses.
click to enlarge Surfaces enjoying the success of their hit song "Sunday Best." - RACHEL PARKER
Surfaces enjoying the success of their hit song "Sunday Best."
Rachel Parker

Over on Tito’s Tent was buzzy artist 070 Shake. The singer blends alternative and hip-hop in the most interesting of ways and she kept the audience hyped up with her intense stage presence.
click to enlarge 070 Shake gave off crazy rage-filled Michael Jackson vibes in the Titos tent. - RACHEL PARKER
070 Shake gave off crazy rage-filled Michael Jackson vibes in the Titos tent.
Rachel Parker

One of Saturday's best performances was hip-hop artist Freddie Gibbs, who commanded the stage, making the audience rowdy and ready for every word.
click to enlarge Freddie Gibbs flying high at ACL. - RACHEL PARKER
Freddie Gibbs flying high at ACL.
Rachel Parker
The last performer on Saturday was Billie Eilish, who proved herself as the real deal. Her fans are a particular breed of loyal, and spent the entire day baking in 90+ degrees of direct sunlight to keep their spots close to the stage. Their commitment makes sense to anyone who has seen the artist perform. Eilish's energy is explosive, giving her all to a crowd that gives it back. When Eilish commanded that "nobody move," you could've heard a pin drop. Her show was the perfect way to end the night.
click to enlarge Billie Eilish headlines the Lady Bird stage on Saturday. - RACHEL PARKER
Billie Eilish headlines the Lady Bird stage on Saturday.
Rachel Parker

click to enlarge The audience sang along with every word during Eilish's set. - RACHEL PARKER
The audience sang along with every word during Eilish's set.
Rachel Parker
click to enlarge Eilish catching some air. - RACHEL PARKER
Eilish catching some air.
Rachel Parker
click to enlarge RACHEL PARKER
Rachel Parker
On Sunday, Austin rocker Zach Person took on the BMI stage, shredding on his guitar to the small but enthusiastic crowd who got up early enough to catch his set.
click to enlarge Austin rocker Zach Person on the BMI stage at ACL. - RACHEL PARKER
Austin rocker Zach Person on the BMI stage at ACL.
Rachel Parker

KennyHoopla, whose performance was the talk of the the prior weekend, did not live up to the word-of-mouth and delivered an underwhelming show. The unofficial word was that he was under the weather, but perhaps he was festival’d out by this point in the marathon of two weekends. 
click to enlarge Greta Van Fleet rocked the Lady Bird Stage during Golden Hour on Sunday. - RACHEL PARKER
Greta Van Fleet rocked the Lady Bird Stage during Golden Hour on Sunday.
Rachel Parker

At 6:30, band Greta Van Fleet rocked out, recalling a new coming of Led Zeppelin. But no doubt, Sunday's highlight was at the T-mobile stage with Jon Batiste, who put on a spiritual and face-melting otherworldly performance, like the male counterpart of Badu, with visuals of space and planets covered in colorful cacti.
click to enlarge Jon Batiste put on an otherworldly set Sunday night. - RACHEL PARKER
Jon Batiste put on an otherworldly set Sunday night.
Rachel Parker
click to enlarge Jon Batiste catching everyone in their feels at the T-mobile stage. - RACHEL PARKER
Jon Batiste catching everyone in their feels at the T-mobile stage.
Rachel Parker
Seasoned pros Duran Duran showed everyone exactly how it’s done. The band closed out the Honda Stage as the audience sang back every word of classic hits such as "Hungry Like the Wolf." Sure, Tyler, the Creator had fireworks over on the Ladybird stage on his Week 1 show, but Duran Duran didn’t need them.
click to enlarge Simon Le Bon strutting his stuff for all the festival goers born before 1990. - RACHEL PARKER
Simon Le Bon strutting his stuff for all the festival goers born before 1990.
Rachel Parker
click to enlarge Duran Duran lit up the Honda Stage. Closing out the second weekend of ACL Fest. - RACHEL PARKER
Duran Duran lit up the Honda Stage. Closing out the second weekend of ACL Fest.
Rachel Parker
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