Ellie Goulding dazzles with ‘Halcyon Days’ tour

With her luscious blonde hair and enticing brown eyes, Ellie Goulding saunters across stage like a seasoned professional. Her songs contain complex rhythmic arrangements and poetic lyrics, highlighting her innate musical ability and setting her apart from her pop-star sisters.

Goulding benefits from risky setlist. (AP Photo)
Goulding benefits from risky setlist. (AP Photo)

Goulding brought her “Halcyon Days” tour to The Liacouras Center on Friday, March 14, performing a complete 20-song set, containing everything from her radio hits to her softer acoustic numbers.

A British songwriter, Goulding emerged into the American music scene with her radio-friendly tune, “Lights,” and has since gained popularity with “I Need Your Love” and “Burn.”

What makes her live performances so impressive is her range of musical styling. She quickly went from banging on a drum to strumming an acoustic guitar, while doing impressive dance routines in between.

The show opened with “Figure 8,” a bass-heavy dance anthem that got the crowd engaged and ready for the rest of the night. The middle section of her set consisted of her slower songs, such as a beautiful acoustic arrangement of “Guns and Horses” followed by her infamous cover of Elton John’s “Your Song.” Goulding’s voice is a unique instrument, soaring through venue with effortless ease. Her distinctive sound allows her music to come to life in a powerful way.

Matched with her vocals are her powerful lyrics. Lines like “Why don’t you be the artist and make me out of clay?” and “You found me on a screen you sit at permanently” echo her poetic skills. It is refreshing to listen to popular music that also contains intriguing, thought-provoking lyrics. Watching a pop starlet explore the core of her musical collection with such passion and emotion is a powerful thing to witness.

After she wowed with her slower section, Goulding performed a three-song knockout: “Anything Could Happen,” “I Need Your Love” and “Lights” that energized the crowd who had just come down from her acoustic session.

Every single person was singing and dancing along to the powerful songs, helping to make the concert feel like a kind of musical religious experience.

Perhaps the most intriguing part about the whole show was how much fun Goulding seemed to be having. She never took herself too seriously, and she was willing and able to take risks with her musical arrangements. Nothing she did seemed too rigid or planned out, which was refreshing to see from a Top-40 pop-star.

Goulding came back on stage for a bombastic encoring, including her current hit “Burn,” which kissed the crowd goodbye with the perfect mixture of sweetness and sassiness.

For this British starlet, her most alluring quality is her ability to get lost in the music and put on a fun show — something most artists have forgotten about.

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