Ellie Goulding at Southampton Guildhall (18/12/2012)

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Southampton was the final stop in the England and Scotland leg of Goulding’s Halcyon tour to coincide with her second studio album. From someone who had only heard a handful of songs from the pop sensation, I was eager to see what she had to offer.

The first support act was Sons & Lovers, who are tipped for great things in 2013. However their performance just didn’t suggest that. Their songs all sounded similar and remained at a flat line pace, with no power behind the music. To be honest I was rather bored by their performance and this was not due to lack of effort, as they boys gave their all. Even the man next to me said ‘I want Ellie!’ without shame midway through their set. They lacked a certain edge that was needed for them to stand out.

Next up was Yasmin, the British DJ and songwriter who quietly set up at the corner of the stage and began to play a small DJ set. Yasmin wasn’t given an introduction and it took several songs to realise she was even there. Playing a mix of dance, hip-hop and dubstep songs, she managed to get people dancing after Sons & Lovers put everyone to sleep.

Finally we reached the woman herself as Goulding came to stage with her tribal Halcyon opener ‘Don’t Say A Word’. The track was a great introduction, showing off the singer’s capabilities both vocally and as a performer. This was followed by title track ‘Halcyon’ and then latest single ‘Figure 8’, these three tracks giving the audience a taster for what to expect from the rest of the evening: Fantastic sounding music, perfect vocals and a performer on the top of her game.

One thing that really stood out was just how great Ellie sounded. Her voice has certainly matured since debut outing Lights, and this translates into her live shows. Her performance was pretty much flawless, and it really demonstrated how much the artist loves to perform. This really came to light in an acoustic version of ‘Guns and Horses’ from her first album. Just her, a guitar and a mesmerised audience. It truly was phenomenal.

There was a large negative about the show that made me leave the venue disappointed, and that was the audience. I couldn’t place the reason for it, but they just weren’t giving the artist the audience she deserved. There were several genuine silences from the crowd between songs, with artist trying to cover it up saying ‘It’s quite intimate, I like it’ and ‘Such a strange atmosphere in here’. Undeterred, Goulding put all her effort from the very beginning to the very end, regardless of whether large sections of the crowd stood motionless for the majority of the gig.

There were many standout songs from the show. More chilled tracks such as ‘Hanging On‘ and ‘JOY’ were powerful and showcased the artist’s vocal range and beauty in her voice. Lead single ‘Anything Could Happen’ was anthemic and did finally stir a rather subdued crowd into a dancing frenzy. After the encore ‘Your Song’ (Elton John cover) followed by smash hit ‘Starry Eyed’ the concert was brought to a close on a high.

For someone who was a backseat fan of Goulding, only knowing the singles and recognising some of the album tracks, this gig really put me in the driving seat. The whole show was put together extremely well with great lighting, brilliant sound quality and the star herself who performed with confidence and this contributed to a fantastic evening of music. A true talent who you must catch live to truly appreciate the wonderwoman status of Miss. Goulding.

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