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Finneas performs at the Temptleton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on Friday, November 12, 2021.

FINNEAS’ OU performance leaves audience ‘Happy Now'

The droning nature sounds halted, the house lights dimmed and fans burst out of their chairs with excitement. This combination of events only meant one thing: FINNEAS was taking the stage.

As a singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner as well as the brother to pop sensation Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell, known mononymously as FINNEAS, gave fans an engaging performance in MemAud on Friday.

Of course, the audience had ample time to prepare, as he was initially set to come before the coronavirus pandemic shut down in-person operations at Ohio University. However, the long wait only made fans more excited to see FINNEAS’ own talents as well as the mind behind the majority of Eilish’s discography.

“I just think it's cool that he helps Billie write her music,” Austynn Hope, a junior studying marketing, said. 

Hope and her friend Amariah Fisher, a junior studying philosophy pre-law, sat in the second row and were enthralled by every aspect of the concert.

“Now, he's branching off on his own music career,” Fisher said. “I'm excited to see how it goes.”

FINNEAS was preceded by Marinelli, who fit the vibe of the evening with his 25-minute simple singer-songwriter sound. 

“You could’ve gotten here at any time, but you came early to see me even though most of you probably don’t know who I am, and that means the world,” Marinelli said to the audience.

In the short time between Marinelli and FINNEAS, overwhelming nature-sound combinations filled the room. Crickets and trees blowing in the wind were just two of many sounds that transported the audience in an almost unsettling way outside. 

However, the wait didn’t last for long: FINNEAS was quick to take the stage, and fans didn’t hesitate before jumping out of their seats and rushing forward to get as close as possible.

With white 3D squares outlining his drummer and guitarist, FINNEAS had a hollowed-out white piano with lights protruding through the holes that illuminated his face as he gracefully played. His lighting included intense blues, reds and greens, with laser moving lights to engage the audience. He even threw in a disco ball during one of his songs. 

To keep up with the crisp stage decor, one of his stage hands brought out his guitar when necessary, striking the stage of anything that contradicted the clear-cut beauty.

Lucas Porter, a Ball State University sophomore, made the nearly four-hour trip to OU with Peyton Asbury, a Ball State University junior, just to see FINNEAS after the success of his new album.

“He had just dropped it, and I was like ‘Yeah, that’s the move,’” Porter said, also noting that the FINNEAS show was the first concert he’d ever been to.

Styled out in a blue silk shirt with white dots and sleek black dress pants with a light racer stripe on the sides, FINNEAS played more than 15 songs, including “I Don’t Miss You At All,” “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night” and “I Lost a Friend.” With each song, he was more and more excited than the last — even jumping on top of the piano and dancing to the instrumentals.

As he played to every part of the audience, every person in every seat got their money’s worth. Be it the $45 ticket stage-rushers in the front or the $10 general admission nosebleeds in the balcony, FINNEAS made sure to perform for each and every audience member.

Initially, pre-coronavirus, the event was supposed to be a performance and Q&A style in which FINNEAS would answer some audience questions. He decided to allow the audience to ask just a few questions, including the meaning behind some songs, what song was the hardest to put together and, much to the audience’s humor, where his girlfriend, actress Claudia Sulewski, was.

Aside from the questions and the occasional joking around with the audience — even asking if anyone had checked in on the mental health of the person who wears the Rufus costume — he was emphatic regarding his appreciation for the audience.

“Thank you all for coming, whether you traveled five minutes from your dorm room or hours and hours to be here,” FINNEAS told the audience.

After an hour and 10 minutes, FINNEAS closed out the night — much to the dismay of the audience. Elizabeth Dupree, a sophomore studying political science and psychology, said she was thrilled to have seen him.

“It was amazing,” Dupree said. “It’s crazy because you can really see his passion as he's singing and the emotion. And it's insane hearing everyone sing with him, too, like these songs affect everyone so deeply and just kind of getting a sense of community at this show.”

Though most came for their love of FINNEAS, others are just happy to resume normalcy after the pandemic’s limitations.

“I'm just excited to be at a concert again,” Asbury said. “It's been a while with the state of the world in the past couple of years. I’m just glad to be out and doing something.”


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