March 17, 2014 at Boston University’s Agganis Arena — Since her last stop in Beantown a year ago, Ellie Goulding has surely had some Halcyon Days. Tour after tour, new releases, awards, appearances, movie soundtracks… so much hard work and well-earned success… And it showed tonight.
This go around, the brilliant and beautiful singing/songwriting Brit took to the stage with a much expanded band (adding three superb backup singers and a talented female musician, now for a total of seven) and an even more comfortable stage presence that sweetly filled the rather cavernous Agganis Arena on the campus of Boston University (a much larger venue than 2013’s House of Blues gig).
Her performance this night was as energetic as ever and, as usual, on the sporty side. But she was ready for it, dressed in little more than you’d wear for a warm summer run. Maybe except for her black Doc Martens.
Musically-speaking, it was a show with something for everyone, including an even array of songs from each album in her quickly-growing catalog.
There were many early favorites: “Guns and Horses” (with some nice acoustic guitar by Ellie), “Starry Eyed”, “This Love”, “The Writer”, “Your Song” (the Elton John / Bernie Taupin classic that is just perfect for Ellie’s stripped-down, innocent cover version).
And plenty of her recent standouts: “My Blood”, “Anything Could Happen” (including some fancy dancing), “Only You”, “Figure 8” (played with power and precision by Ellie’s talented band), “Hanging On”, “Explosions”, “I Need Your Love”, “Ritual”, as well as a few from her latest release — the catchy “Goodness Gracious”, “You My Everything” (a personal favorite), and “Tessellate”. Oh, and Ellie’s long-time star guitar/keyboard player Chris Ketley accompanied her on her new ballad “Beating Heart” from the Divergent movie soundtrack.
A lot of tunes in just under two fast-moving hours…
But Ellie still found time to chat up her fans, about 75% of whom were young women (not the same mix as last year’s show, which seemed to be evenly split by gender and included some older Gould-diggers). A few highlights:
– Ellie had a laugh at the “weird sort of barrier” that divided the floor in half and left a lot of people standing a mile from the stage. “I’ve never seen that before…” (Okay, it did look like the barricade from Les Miserables.)
– She also made sure to wish everyone a “Happy St. Patrick’s day, I guess…” after noticing more than a few green-painted faces moshing around in front of her.
– And later on, in the midst of her acoustic set, it was a very gracious and humble E.G. who confessed to being totally nervous before performing at this year’s BRIT Awards (where she won Top Female Solo Artist by the way — yay!) but felt much more relaxed here with “all of you lovely people“.
Then, all of a sudden, the night was almost over. Ellie closed her regular set by singing a heart-felt version of “Lights” to a dazzling sea of cell-phone lighters. And her encore ended with a white-hot “Burn” that sent her fans home happy, though audibly wanting more.
But she did promise to “come back again really soon“. Ellie, we’ll hold you to that. Do it for all of those lovely people still stuck behind that strange barricade! “Only You” can save them…