Billie Eilish "Live At Third Man Records" (2020 RSD August Drop LP)

For Record Store Day 2020, Billie Eilish’s November 2019 performance at the Third Man Records Blue Room in Nashville was released on a limited edition LP. Live At Third Man Records was pressed in blue vinyl, and was limited to 17,000 copies. It was released on August 29th of that year, the first of three unusual RSD “drop” dates resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shortly after the teenage art-pop sensation’s performance took place at Third Man on November 9, 2019, this album was sold in two earlier limited editions exclusively at Third Man’s retail stores. One of these was pressed in blue-and-black-split vinyl, and was packaged in sleeves with blue paint-splatter marks made by Eilish herself. This edition reportedly had only 220 copies printed, and was sold only at Third Man's Nashville store. Another limited edition, sold only at Third Man's Nashville and Detroit locations, was pressed in lime green vinyl. The Third Man catalogue number for both of these two editions was TMR-660, and both of them tend to fetch huge bucks on the market. The Record Store Day edition was catalogued as TMR660RSD.

17,000 copies is actually a larger print run than most Record Store Day titles receive, but the teenage chart-topper has millions of fans. Not all of her fans will take an interest in this special item, but if even 2% of them want to own a copy of Live At Third Man Records, then it will remain a sought-after rarity until and unless it becomes available digitally.

The performance by Eilish and her brother FINNEAS O’Connell (who is her usual producer and co-songwriter) was recorded direct-to-acetate in this small, intimate venue, and the sound quality of the recording has extraordinary clarity. The set was mostly acoustic, in contrast to the electropop sound of many of Eilish’s studio songs, although an electric organ was noticeably used for the dreamy ballad “Ocean Eyes”. Billie usually sings the songs in a gentle, understated, sometimes even wispy tone, and FINNEAS provides similarly scaled-back harmony vocals. This approach works very well on most of the songs here, with the subtle emotions particularly coming through on “Ocean Eyes”, “Come Out And Play”, and the lovely, vintage-sounding “I Love You”. And the not-quite-18-year-old Eilish comes across as a precocious young lounge singer on “idontwannabeyouanymore” (yes, that title is stylized as one long lower-case word).

One complaint: the small audience in attendance was noisy at times, especially during the Fiona Apple-like “Bury A Friend” and (naturally) during the performance of the #1 hit “Bad Guy”; the audience participation makes that song’s “duh” lyric sound even more ridiculous, and Eilish’s laughing and ad-libbing doesn’t help. Those possibly unavoidable pitfalls aside, Live At Third Man Records displays the genuine talent possessed by this young pop star (or, should I say, these two young pop stars?).

Billie Eilish - Live at Third Man Records

Billie Eilish “Live At Third Man Records” (Third Man TMR660RSD) 2020

Track Listing:

1. All The Good Girls Go To Hell
2. Ocean Eyes
3. Bad Guy
4. idontwannabeyouanymore
5. Bury A Friend
6. Come Out And Play
8. I Love You
9. Bellyache
10. When The Party’s Over