Like many up-and-coming singers, Britain’s Ellie Goulding spent the early days of her career as an opening act. She supported big-name artists such as John Mayer, Passion Pit and even U2. Now headlining arenas and touring with a production that includes a live band and dancers, she's become the main event and has to captivate a crowd for an entire 90 minutes.
She’s not quite there yet.
Playing last night to close to 4,000 fans at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica (the show had been downsized from the Wolstein Center), Goulding showed off her tremendous vocal power and even displayed a certain amount of range in material. You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here
The set varied from acoustic ballads such as “Devotion” to club anthems like “Outside” and “Lights.” She gutted it out despite temperatures in the low fifties ("If you fancy weather like this every day of the year, come to England," she joked at one point). Goulding carried herself with plenty of confidence and regularly engaged the audience with anecdotes, but constant wardrobe changes and shifts in tempo resulted in an uneven performance.
Having a live band supporting her was a plus — heavy percussion distinguished “Goodness Gracious,” a track that Goulding delivered with plenty of energy, frantically whipping her long blonde hair in the air. Hammering drums gave "Lost and Found" a Fleetwood Mac-like quality, and the sparse intro to “Lights” simply featured Goulding’s voice and piano, providing the song with a real immediacy.
“Figure 8” had a real edge to it and suggested that when given the right material Goulding has the ability to dig a little deeper, something that wasn’t apparent in her delivery of saccharine dance tunes such as the Calvin Harris track “I Need Your Love” and “Burn,” the song that closed the 20-song set before Goulding returned for an encore.