It's a special performance. Billie Eilish played an acoustic concert of her numerous hits, which she already had at the age of 20, in front of a handpicked 2000 listener in Bonn. And not only the fans of her generation are enthusiastic.
When was the last time you heard that? "Billie! Billie! Billie!" screams from dozens of throats in the hall, which is filled with around 2,000 people. A note has not yet been played, but the ecstasy is palpable. Someone is worshiped here. Due to the soundscape in 1997 one imagines oneself at a performance of a big boy band, maybe with the Backstreet Boys, but no - nobody's name was Billie. Just one Brian.
"Billie! Billie! Billie!" This Wednesday evening in Bonn means Billie Eilish. 20 years young, from Los Angeles and one of the biggest pop stars of our time. In a black sweater, she sits on a chair, takes a microphone - and sings. "I'm so glad to see you guys," she tells excited fans.
It is a special show that the 20-year-old presents. On the one hand it is an acoustic concert that does not require any great musical frills. Eilish's voice, sometimes guitar, sometimes piano. Her brother Finneas plays with her on stage.
On the other hand, it is a foretaste of their eagerly awaited concerts in Europe. In Germany it is expected in June in Frankfurt, Cologne and Berlin in large halls. In Bonn, she will be appearing in advance at the Telekom Forum, a modern but more club-like setting. Telekom and Eilish had worked together in the past. Hours before the performance, she addresses her around 103 million followers worldwide on Instagram with the words "Hi Germanyyy". Hi Germany.
What Germany then hears is proof that Eilish is a fantastic singer. Her through-produced songs, which run on the radio or are deposited with the major streaming providers, sometimes live on electronic beats and the way she sang Eilish - almost breathed, without a big gesture, not an octave up and down again. Sometimes you want to turn up the speakers to understand everything. Now, with acoustic accompaniment and live, Eilish shows she can easily interpret them in other ways.
Of course she sings her mega hit "Bad Guy", but also, for example, "Ocean Eyes". It's the song that she uploaded to the music website Soundcloud when she was 13 - the starting point for a breathtaking story. At the age of 17, her debut album conquered the charts, and in 2020, at the age of 18, she won the Grammy Awards in all four main categories. At the end of March she won the Oscar with her song "No Time To Die" for the Bond film "No Time to Die".
Various influencers, actors and musicians cavort in the guest area on this evening. Everyone wants to see Eilish. Why is that? "I came because Billie Eilish is - I think - the artist of our generation," says Luna Schweiger, daughter of Til Schweiger, herself 25 years old. Young people could identify with the music. Corona, war - it's "not an easy time to grow up at all," she says. Eilish takes one on the shoulder. "You think: Okay, I'm not alone."
In fact, many of Eilish's songs give the listener a rather darker disposition. "Why should I write about things I don't understand? I feel the dark things," she once said. On the stage, that evening, you don't even feel it that much. Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell, as her full name is, laughs, makes the audience scream and sing, distributes hand kisses. The heaviness is conveyed more in their lyrics. And in a brief moment at the end as she grabs and holds up a Ukrainian flag.
"I'll be in Cologne in a few weeks," says Billie Eilish. Maybe we'll see each other there again.