Thursday night was Ellie Goulding’s first local arena headlining concert at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. As of late, she was just coming off of the giant of a festival, Coachella, last month and has tour beside Taylor Swift and Katy Perry in the past. Over the past year or so, the British electro-pop singer has found her own audience and taken to performing solo show.
The singer that brought us the well-known hits, “Burn” and “Lights” brought forward a stage show bright and shimmery enough to validate her solo status, proving she was able to put together enough of a stage to only need her as an entertainer. Goulding also danced just enough with her small grouping of backup dancers to prove she’s able, if not willing. There were a number of outfit changes, but unlike many artists, they weren’t really like costume changes. She remained dressed mostly in black, not wanting to make much out of her wardrobe, it appeared. At moments, she played the drums and the guitars, much to my surprise. Her voice changed from time to time, at times very light and soft, while full at other times. Such changes made people switch back and forth on their thoughts of whether she was able to prove herself as a true vocalist or not.
It has been agreed upon that she was lacking her own sense of fun, however. One could imagine that this would have to do with the stress of being on the road and on her own. It’s a different story than having a leading act or a whole other set of entertainers to lean on. It’s all on her shoulders to keep a tour going this time around and I can’t fault her for feeling a bit tense over that.
“Devotion” was played on an acoustic guitar, while “Lights” was changed to a piano ballad. As many artists have done in recent weeks, she played a beautiful Prince tribute, a dramatic interpretation of “When Doves Cry”. It has been played by her before, but she found it obviously fitting to play it here, as she noted when stating, “I feel like I should do it here.”
The show lightened up more with the dance happy tune, “On My Mind”, my personal favorite, “Love Me Like You Do” and the beautiful, “Burn”. She then informed the crowd that she would “allow” the fans to pull out their cellphones for use, as if she actually had any more control over that than anyone these days. The fans, a mix of teenagers and young adults, seemed to truly enjoy themselves throughout the night. The songs and stage show made for a great show, however, Ellie herself came across less than pleased with the evening. As stated before, this could be due to the tour itself, so that may lessen as time passes. Here’s hoping it does.