After Harry Styles’ surprise guest during his headlining performance at Coachella, Billie Eilish had another A-list musician join her on stage when she closed the show on Saturday night.
The Oscar-winning performer headlined the second night of the US festival at the weekend, performing a string of her tunes from the early years of her career, which was followed by Happier Than Ever cut Getting Older.
During the track, she was joined by former Blur frontman Damon Albarn, who previously courted controversy over an interview in which he praised Billie while calling into question Taylor Swift’s songwriting abilities.
Following Billie and Damon’s duet (during which, it has to be said, the Britpop singer struggled somewhat with his lyrics), the No Time To Die star sang his praises for the fans in attendance.
Billie Eilish and Damon Albarn on stage at Coachella
Introducing him as “Gorillaz’s Damon Albarn”, Billie told the crowd: “This man changed my life in a lot of ways, and changed my complete view of what music could be and what art could be and what creation could be.
“My first favorite band ever was The Good, The Bad And The Queen when I was six years old, and Blur changed the world and fucking Gorillaz changed the world, and this man is literally a genius and that’s that.”
Together, they then performed an energetic version of Gorillaz’s Feel Good Inc, and were joined on stage by US rapper Posdnous.
At the end of the song, Damon thanked the headliner and her brother Finneas, with Billie declaring: “What the fuck? Y’all. I’m sorry. Where do I go from there? Gorillaz? please Please make some noise for them, dude.
“Woah. You don’t understand how much Damon means to me, I feel like I am dying.”
The pair performed two tracks together during Billie’s headlining slot
Many fans watching the set live on YouTube also picked up on the fact that as Billie spoke to the crowd, an unidentified man’s voice with an American accent could seem to be heard saying: “We’re getting sued by Taylor Swift tomorrow.”
Sorry had to edit it really quick. “We’re getting sued by Taylor Swift tomorrow”-someone backstage (probably not Damon Albarn since he has a British accent) pic.twitter.com/B3lqCe0LPs
— Meg (@megmatx) April 17, 2022
Earlier in her set, Billie was joined by Khalid for a rendition of their Lovely collaboration.
Following an interview with the LA Times last year, Damon faced a backlash after he suggested that Taylor Swift “doesn’t write her own songs”.
Prompted by a comment about Taylor co-writing her songs, he added: “Co-writing is very different to writing. I’m not hating on anybody, I’m just saying there’s a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes.
“When I sing, I have to close my eyes and just be in there … a really interesting songwriter is Billie Eilish and her brother. I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift.
“It’s just darker — less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think she’s exceptional.”
Damon Albarn performing in Paris last month
David Wolff-Patrick via Getty Images
When his comments began doing the rounds online, Taylor responded on Twitter, saying: “I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this. I write ALL of my own songs. Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging.
“You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really fucked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW. PS I wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering.”
@DamonAlbarn I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this. I write ALL of my own songs. Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really fucked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW. https://t.co/t6GyXBU2Jd
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 24, 2022
Just over an hour later, Damon issued a public apology.
“I totally agree with you,” he replied. “I had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait.
“I apologise, unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”
I totally agree with you. i had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait. I apologise, unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand. – Damon
— Damon Albarn (@Damonalbarn) January 24, 2022
Billie is the second of this year’s Coachella headliners, with The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia closing the first weekend of the festival on Sunday.
They are replacing KanyeWestwho had initially been announced as a Sunday’s headliner but later dropped out just weeks before the event.