Feb. 12, 2013
Say this much for Ellie Goulding: At least she's honest. Pop stars are generally finely tuned machines that rarely go off the script or allow fans to get to know the person behind the carefully crafted image that has been presented to the public. It's hard to recall the last time a pop star has timidly confessed he or she was feeling shy because that star was playing in front of the biggest crowd of his or her career. Yet that's what the singer did last night, and it was telling.
For the first hour of her 95-minute show, Goulding slogged through an uneven performance. As the second of two area shows–the first being at the Wiltern on Saturday–and the last of her current North American tour, Goulding showed signs of fatigue, maybe from a cramming a lot of dates into a short amount of time or even an exhausting Grammy Awards weekend.
She opened with the electro-pop she has become known for before hastily transitioning to a short set of acoustic numbers. For a musician with a fan base who has a longer attention span, this transition showcased the 26-year-old's propensity to write earnest, thoughtful songs that may have been better suited for a more intimate venue. But the crowd on this night wanted to see the star in the short, black, leather shorts and sleeveless, see-through shirt who bounced along to the music with them, not a thoughtful singer/songwriter who performed unfamiliar versions of her songs.
You can excuse Goulding if she was both a bit nervous and winded. Her latest album, Halcyon, along with her relationship and subsequent split from Skrillex brought more attention to her than before. Though she's already a star in her native England (she did play at the Royal wedding after all), she's still finding her footing Stateside.
Thus, when she confessed to feeling the pressure of playing to so many people at the end of a quick four-week run, it was easy to see she was overwhelmed. Yet after she poured out her soul, it seemed the middling first hour would be forgotten. Beginning with "Anything Can Happen," the singer brimmed with a newfound confidence, which turned the Palladium into the dance hall that was expected by the crowd.
It was then easy to see why Goulding is so highly thought of. She has the chops to belt out big tunes, best demonstrated during songs such as "Animal" and "Starry Nights."
Closing with "Lights," Goulding was energetic and peppy. If she had been better able to harness her nervous energy, the entire night would have been hers. But it's likely her young fans will forget the early jitters and instead count down the days until the budding pop star returns.
The Crowd: The type of people who probably lose their shit to Girls.
Random Notebook Dump: The "Keep Calm and Halcyon On" posters distributed after the show were cool souvenirs for people who didn't want to pony up $30 for a T-shirts Labels, take note.