Ellie Goulding – The Barclay Card Arena, Birmingham – 21.03.16

In 2010, the single ‘Starry Eyed’ graced our ears. It was this moment I felt a magical feeling, that has not left me yet. I can safely say that purchasing ‘Lights’ was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made! Okay, maybe my mom brought it me, I’m not sure but still!!Of course 2010 saw the blossom of Elena Goulding’s music career, or as you may know her best, Ellie Goulding.

Over the years Goulding has teased and pursued different styles and genres, resulting in each album being almost polar opposites. Displaying her musical talents to the max, Goulding has nabbed herself; two number one albums, two Brit awards, over 20 million sales and so much more! Not to mention recognition worldwide for sound tracking brilliantly the 50 Shades of Grey film (which created its own phenomenon), paired with a equally captivating video. With all this credit and the fact I practically love every song of Goulding’s or one she has featured in, I have always wanted to see her live.

Six years later… On Monday 21st March after finishing my first day at what was my new job (now my current and it’s great) I was on my way to meet Kirsty because we were going to see Ellie Goulding at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, UK. To say I was excited was an understatement, I mean it was my birthday a few weeks before and I swear I was more excited for the gig than my birthday. I know its pretty sad but I was seriously fan girling and not just because I was seeing Goulding. Goulding had two support acts, unfortunately due to misprints on the tickets we missed the first act. Which I am gutted about as all I’ve seen on twitter about LANY is how amazing they were on this tour and are in general. It’s safe to say this three piece band have a massive fan base already, which is only getting bigger since they formed in 2014. The second support was someone who I have wanted to see since they graced the scenes in 2012. That someone was John Newman!

 In 2012 there was a voice that everyone was hearing, but a face that wasn’t really known, that was until 2013. 2013 saw the release of ‘Love me Again’ sky rocketing John Newman further into stardom. He’s second single release was ‘Cheating’ which proved even more so that this guy has serious talent! Newman is a breath of fresh air to the music scence as he is massively influenced by Northern Soul in his music, performances and style. He simply oozes talent and I can’t get enough of him. Newman’s album ‘Tribute’ followed shortly after his second single release and it is absolutely brilliant. His talents don’t end there either, he has featured on tracks with Rudimental and Calvin Harris where he’s voice is matched to very different genres. It’s very clear to see that Newman is versatile with his vocals. Which is why I think he was a great support act for Goudling.

Now, standing in the crowd staring at Newman’s backdrop of his latest album, ‘Revolve’ the lights dropped and the music started. Backing vocalist and band came out in a cheographed routine and outfits fit with Newman’s style, the excitement became oh so real. Newman joined the stag bouncing with energy in white trousers, black shirt and shoes raring to go. Performing songs from both albums and his own version of Rudimental’s ‘Not Giving In’, Newman filled the stage with his presence and arena with his beautiful voice. I must point out that the musicians on stage with him were phenomenal! I haven’t heard backing vocals like it before and the technical talents from guitars, drums and keys were amazing! Everything paired with neatly pieced choreography and Newman’s northern soul moves, nothing about this performance was dull. And let’s face it the whole arena lit up when Newman finally played ‘Love Me Again’ ending his set perfectly for Gouldings turn.

 Gouldings stage was intense, dark and yet bold. Her face flickered across the screen as her band poured onto the stage and backing vocalists took their spots proudly. All perfectly balanced to ‘Intro (Delirium)’ the stage was now ready. Goulding entered the stage on a podium behind draped material that was being played with ever so gracefully by very strong and mischievous looking male dancers, whilst the backing music to ‘Aftertaste’ began where Goulding and co kicked off their set. The stage throughout was filled with energy from backing vocalists, to guitarists, to dancers and Goulding herself. Goulding went on to have three costume changes, to play a floor Tom and even guitars (multiple times), as well as perform dance routines alongside her badass dancers!

Songs played throughout included; ‘Figure 8’ & ‘Explosions’ from Halycon/Halycon Days, Outside & I Need Your Love (Calvin Harris covers), Keep on Dancin’/Army/On My Mind from Delirium and of course Love Me Like You Do from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack. All of which sounded like they were being blasted through the speakers straight from CD’s just made at the studio, they were performed that perfectly. However, Goulding was not the only talent to be seen. The whole band were incredible including backing vocalists, but visually the dancers really caught my eye. Something I absolutely loved was the contemporary piece that two of the dancers performed during a costume change. It was powerful, domineering and quite “fighty”, yet so graceful and elegant. I couldn’t stop watching them.

Something that made Goulding’s performance that bit more personal was her interaction with the audience and what she was saying. Yes there was probably stuff she says at every venue but there was just that little bit more too. She interacted that much, she tried desperately to have a conversation with a guy standing quite close to me, but apologised because she couldn’t hear everything he was saying. But what really caught me, was when she asked everyone to put their phones away. To now record or take videos but to simply enjoy the performance like those before us did before mobiles became so important to everyone. Unfortunately, not everyone in the arena listened, but seeing those that did made it more real. That this is what music is about, listening feeling and visually seeing the music enfold before you.

 From this gig I can safely say I wasn’t disappointed by Newman or Goulding, its safe to say that true talent is still out there in signed acts. That music artists that are signed and famous are not all made up from technology and auto tune. That talent is still there and it’s very real. That’s the magical feeling I got six years ago hearing ‘Starry Eyed’ for the first time. Talent is out there in the music industry and its also still out there to be discovered. Don’t be warned off by the “look” of music and focus on what music really is. Talent, passion and hard work.

  As always thank you for reading my opinions and thoughts. All comments/feedback are welcome, I’d love to hear from you! Don’t forget you can get in touch through the twitter page too, link is below. Again, thank you and I hope I didn’t bore you with my fan girling!! – Leanne xo