Birdy – Concert Experience

Colourful fairy lights, steep staircases and excited chattering through the hallways. On the 12th of April a crowd is gathering in the Theatre of Rotterdam to experience “Birdy” live in concert. Whether young, old or generations united – The fans of the 26-year-old British singer are diverse. Slowly the floor and balconies fill up and eyes wander through the venue waiting for the show to start. 

The Dutch singer Celine Cairo opens for Birdy at this show and steps to the microphone. Enchanted by her strong voice and vulnerable lyrics the crowd looks up to her and listens in anticipation. She tells background stories to her songs and perfectly matches the vibe of the crowd with soft indie-pop ballads on the guitar and supported by a pianist. 

After a short break it’s finally getting dark, and the band enters their podiums in the dim light of the stage. Birdy walks to the front and opens with the newly released song “Raincatchers” that is the first single of the new album “Portraits” which will be released on the 14th of July. 

Her outfit looks like a ballet costume mixed with some 80’s inspiration. Since she is entering a new era with this album. the looks developed to a more alternative style including abstract eye makeups and outfits. We love to see that change, but her stage presence still resembles the genuine and youthful spirit that fans adore about her. 

Birdy goes through a range of instruments on stage, playing some older songs first. The fans are swaying to the sound and softly starting to sing along. From the moment she entered the stage it’s like her voice cast a spell on the crowd keeping them totally captivated. 

An excited gasp echoes through the theatre as the fans hear the first famous chords of “People Help the People”. One of the covers from her first album that boosted her career. Her voice is clear and sounds even better live than on the recordings. The applause goes on for a long time and brings a shy smile to the singers’ lips as she finishes the ballad. Whoever wasn’t under her spell yet, definitely is after that song. 

As I took in her voice and presence there now is a moment to appreciate the aesthetic of the stage. 

The lightning of her show is perfectly matched to the lyrics or feelings of her songs. “And if I could reach the Northern Lights. Maybe then I’d understand it all.” During “Surrender” fog decently coats the stage and the green and blue spotlights sway so naturally that it looks like northern lights flicker in the background. 

As Birdy settles at the piano, she takes her time to talk to the crowd for a bit. “Now there’s some extra sad songs coming up”, she announces. First you hear the rustling of tissues and then some sobs throughout the room in between songs. She plays “Loneliness” where blue lights flicker like stars and the fans watch her with teary eyes. A dramatic blue spotlights pulses on the singer at the piano while everything else turns dark. 

What probably no one expected was the surprise transition from “Silhouette” into the popular Kate Bush song “Running up that Hill”. Birdy’s voice matched the song perfectly and as she saw the crowd move along and react to her surprise a smile lit up her face. 

Next up were two unreleased songs that sound quite different from the music we know of Birdy so far. Kate Bush was apparently not a random cover choice, but a hint on the obvious influence Bush seemed to have on the creation of Birdy’s new album. The fans sucked up every lyric and tone of the unreleased songs as it will take some more months until they will be released on the new record. 

As the singer sits at the piano, lit up in purple lights everyone tenses in excitement as we hear the familiar piano chords of “Skinny Love”. The “Bon Iver” Cover was on Birdy’s Debut album, released as she was just 15 years old. Everyone listens in awe as the British singer lays all the passion and energy in her voice to perform this song. It was a truly emotional experience, and another long round of applause awaits her as she finishes that song. 

As we get to the end of the show she plays another new song, “Heartbreaker” on the electric guitar, which is the second single of the album. Before she quickly leaves the stage Birdy plays the song “Keeping your head up”. This upbeat song makes the more silent crowd finally let go. People are dancing, jumping and singing loudly. 

“Hold tight, you’re slowly coming back to life. I’ll be keeping your head up.” It’s one of my favourite songs to remind myself to always keep going and remember at some point there will be light again. Seeing this live was a weird experience of dancing out all the negativity and crying happy tears of finally hearing this song live. An experience I will look back on for a long time for sure. 

As an encore Birdy comes back to stage alone. She announces another new song, “Your Arms”. “This is for everyone that ever lost someone” she said, and we get to hear an emotional ballad. The room is dark again, the spotlight just on her and the piano. A last moment to quietly take in her voice before she goes over into the fan favourite “Wings” from her sophomore album “Fire Within”. 

Phone flashlights are moving through the room and people lay in each other’s arms singing along. 

“Well remember tonight, for the rest of our lives.” What better lyrics are there to close off a memorable evening like this? 

Birdy doesn’t need a big show because her voice fills the whole theatre. It is crazy to think how a decade ago she started her career. A debut album with mainly covers got her into the world of music and established her angelic and unique voice. Now I can’t wait to hear the new record after getting a sneak peek into the world of “Portraits”. A whole new vibe and sound awaits us. 

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