Friday, September 22, 2023

Review: Ellie Goulding brings intensified show to Birmingham

  • Ellie Goulding brought her energetic arena show to Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Monday March 21st 2016
  • Support acts LANY and John Newman set the bar high before Ellie Goulding took to the stage
  • Fans resonated with both her energetic tracks and slower numbers throughout

Emerging Los Angeles trio LANY were the first support as the crowd slowly trickled into the arena. Having previously supported Halsey and Troye Sivan in the States and just sold out their first UK headline show a few nights earlier, they’re an artist we are sure to hear more from in the future. Whilst the crowd was only a fraction of it’s complete size they still managed to sound bold and epic, as their soft synths and 80s guitar riffs echoed through the arena. They opened with recently released single ‘Where The Hell Are My Friends?’ going straight into a more energetic start. Lead singer Paul’s vocals had a soft smooth tone that resonated strongly as he sang out catchy yet also in depth songs such as ‘Bad Bad Bad’, ‘ILYSB’ and ‘Made In Hollywood’. Tracks were minimalistic both lyrically and sonically, yet still had a grand cinematic quality to them that suited the large venue well.

Next up, swanky pop vocalist John Newman put on what could almost qualify as a second headline set before Ellie. Following a dramatic introduction to hype up excitement, which is rare for a support act, John rushed onto the stage strutting around with a slick confidence. He belted out verses to hit singles such as ‘Blame It On The Night’ and catchy tune ‘Come And Get It’. His performance had a polished jazziness to it that filled the arena with a blaring fantastic sound. It was appropriately high octane to warm up the crowd to welcome Ellie to the stage.

Following an angelic introduction and intensified build up, Ellie Goulding emerged onto the stage surrounded by dancers and cloaked by shining gold curtains as she was elevated above the stage. There was no waiting around as she launched straight into ‘Aftertaste’, the opening track from her new album Delirium, with its speedy rhythm and disco esque beat. The adrenaline rush continued with gospel style backing vocals on ‘Holding On For Life’ and the irresistible buzzing beats of fan favourite ‘Goodness Gracious’. Everything Ellie did on stage was executed with an admirable high focus to put on the best show of her capability. She was extremely charismatic making adorable funny remarks, such as referring to her drink as “party petrol” and interacting with her fans.

Following a brief video interlude and a costume change into a futuristic neon jumpsuit, she showed no intention of slowing down pushing onwards with the infectious whistles and blasted club beats on ‘Keep On Dancin’’ followed by trippy distorted ‘Don’t Need Nobody’.

For the next quarter the tone was taken down a notch with a few of her most loved slower songs ideal for light swaying and a chance to recover from the relentless dancing so far. ‘Explosions’ was belted out with passion creating an audible spectacle fixating the crowd from Ellie’s stunning vocal capabilities. She made a touching tribute to her best friend before playing ‘Army’ – the verses strongly resonating with the audience as the relatable lyrics brought people together as everyone sang along with glee.

The level was lifted back up launching back into more electronic dance pop hits that Ellie does so well. Blaring electric guitars and pounding drums that vibrated through the venue created a slightly rock like edge on ‘Figure 8’ demonstrating an altered performance exaggerated in a live setting. A sassy attitude came across in ‘On My Mind’, a brilliant shiny pop performance made even better by the layered synths and instrumentation creating a sonic depth.  The bouncy numbers continued through to the end of the set with ‘I Need Your Love’ and ‘We Can’t Move To This’, closing with smash hit ‘Burn’ resulting in communal chanting of the repetitive chorus and waves of jumping throughout the crowd.

Harking back to her first album, Ellie returned for her encore with a gentle touching cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’. Her sweet tone created a sentimental atmosphere met with the crowds bellowing echoed singing along. She finished with the fantastic ‘Love Me Like You Do’ paired with sparkling confetti cannons showering the crowd, ending the night on a high.

Ellie has come a long way from her electro-folk beginnings and has developed into a bold and confident artist with a powerful stage presence at live shows. She has become a fully polished pop superstar utilising arenas for an epic show, whilst retaining a high performance level rather than adding too many distracting bells and whistles.

Kieran Raza

Media and Communications student with a passion for music and discovering new artists. 90% of the time you'll find me at a gig. I listen to a really wide range of artists such as The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ed Sheeran, Disclosure, Lorde, Florence and The Machine, Ben Howard, as well as a tonne of pop music like Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding.