Ellie Goulding – A lack of connection leaves you feeling cold

Ellie Goulding’s rise to global status was well and truly confirmed last year, so it was of no surprise that she packed 5000 fans of all ages into Rockhal on Monday night.

Since scoring her first UK No 1 back in 2013 with “Burn” Goulding has been on an upward trajectory, evolving her sound through each album, leaving behind the folk tinged past of “Lights” to take on the bigger beats of EDM on her second album “Halcyon”.

For her third album “Delirium” she went full on pop and for best results for that these days there is only one man to turn to, the hit factory Max Martin. The new album has become her most widely acclaimed to date and produced the worldwide smash hit “Love Me Like You Do”, which broke streaming records for first week plays, went No1 in 70 countries and has already notching up over 1billion views on YouTube.

With numbers like that come big shows and grand stage sets, last night was no different with a sloped stage and large horizontal screens flanking either side of the stage, the audience could see every inch, which was great for the small kids who made up a good number of the crowd.

As the enormous curtains fell the show began, the band slowly building up with the intro from “Delirium” before Goulding joined them as they launched into full on pop of “Afterlife”, with Goulding’s vocals piercing through and reminding everyone just why she has hit such high levels of success.

As she knocked out a few of the soaring electro pop tracks it was evident that the crowd was a bit subdued, with Goulding remarking that they seem a bit shy, so asked them to dance with her on “Something in The Way You Move”. Although that got the crowd going for a moment there was a disconnect from her and the crowd all night, with not much warmth or interaction coming from the stage. That’s not to say she wasn’t jumping around and giving it her all and sounding on top form, but there was a real lack of connection and even conviction.

The Calvin Harris collaboration “Outside” with its EDM beat got the crowd moving a bit once more but it wasn’t to last too long. Though one of the more unashamed bubblegum pop tracks “Around U” proved a highlight before acoustic version of “Devotion” took us back to her folksier roots.

With the change in sounds there was change of costumes, all of which was a bit contrived as the move to 80s dance with “Keep On Dancin’” inspired a brightly coloured jumpsuit before the ballad of “Explosions” had her take to a flowing white gown. Then a leather jacket appeared as she took to the electric guitar to rock out for a moment. It all became a bit predictable, following well worn formulas.

One of her few interactions with the crowd was to ask them to put away their phones and live in the moment for “Burn” and that they did, singing away with all their hands in the air.

It was left to “Anything Could Happen” & the smash hit “Love Me Like You Do” to finish up proceedings and although they of course got the sing along you might have been expecting all night it was hard not to leave feeling a little cold from the performance.

You couldn’t fault Goulding’s vocals or the band but the show as a whole lacked a spark, maybe she couldn’t get anything from the crowd or she was having an off night but I went home feeling she had just gone through the motions.

29/2/16 – Rockhal

 

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