Gig review: Ellie Goulding at First Direct Arena, Leeds

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BY the time Ellie arrives on stage, the crowd is pretty hyped up.

After watching Californian trio LANY perform and Yorkshire-born singing star John Newman literally rip the drum set to pieces on stage as he finishes off his set, excitement starts to build.

Ellie Goulding performs at Leeds Arena. Pics: Guzelian.

Ellie Goulding performs at Leeds Arena. Pics: Guzelian.

Two dancers holding floor-to-ceiling gold drapes cross over each other in the middle of the stage, and as the music to Delirium starts up, a light shines through the material, showing Goulding’s silhouette as she stands on a raised part of the stage.

Finally the curtains drop to show the 29-year-old singer belting out the first song.

The crowd is almost silent, taken in by Goulding’s impressive vocals.

The huskiness of her voice shines through in a live setting, and the control she has is remarkable.

She blitzes her way through songs from her new album Delirium, including Aftertaste and Holding on for Life and Something in the Way You Move.

Her new album is obviously the focus here, and almost every track is performed.

It is interspersed with previous hits such as Goodness Gracious and Outside - where the party starts as smoke cannons fire and the crowd starts bouncing.

Despite dancing, jumping and running around on stage, Goulding’s vocals never falter.

There are a couple of pauses for her to sip on her so-called ‘party petrol’, before she throws herself back into the set.

A stripped-back performance of Devotion follows, with the singer going back to her roots and playing acoustic guitar.

It’s more reminiscent of her previous gigs when she started out in the music industry, and she seems confident and perfectly at ease throughout.

The fact she can go from up-tempo clubnight numbers with on-screen effects and plenty of pyrotechnics to just a simple acoustic performance speaks volumes for her talent.

It’s only when she speaks to the crowd that she comes across as shy, and admits that herself as she cringes after catching sight of herself on one of the big screens.

It’s on to Keep On Dancing and Don’t Need Nobody before another costume change.

Hits such as How Long Will I Love You?, Army (a song about her best friend), On My Mind, I Need Your Love and Burn go down well with the crowd.

But as the encore approaches, the crowd seem a little lack lustre - possibly because they’re enthralled by Goulding’s pitch-perfect performance, and she comments that she’s never had such an attentive audience before.

As she returns to the stage for the encore, this is where the crowd really comes to life.

Every word of Elton John’s Your Song is sung by the audience as Goulding performs her cover of the track, and as Anything Could Happen gets under way, many people get on their feet.

The final song is none other than Love Me Like You Do, which provides a magical moment as confetti cannons fire out plumes of shimmering gold paper.

Goulding has fired through dozens of songs and hasn’t stumbled over a single word, lyric or note.

In the seemingly short set, she’s played drums, acoustic guitar and electric guitar.

Despite her irrefutable talent, her interaction with the crowd shows the professional star has her feet firmly on the ground, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store after she takes some well-deserved time off.