Ellie Goulding at The Olympia on the 7th of April 2013
Ellie Goulding‘s return to Dublin was far less straightforward than the last time she graced ‘the big schmoke’. Previously, she entertained the crowd “with a set that was about as predictable as the presence of Eamonn Dunphy’s characteristically droopy bags beneath his furry face friends. This time around, Ellie drops by with everyone wondering how her set will reflect her adventurous new album, ‘Halcyon’.
The lights dipped and a screaming fuzz emitted from the masses a little prematurely, the crowd then began to quieten. A lady, who quite clearly couldn’t see the stage seized her opportunity to request a song; “Ellllllie, play Starry Eyed” she yelled to an empty stage. The embarrassing request was quickly forgotten as Goulding appeared on stage soon after, dressed as a sheep (well, her upper half anyway).
Ellie Goulding opens with the anticlimactic Don’t Say a Word followed by the equally unimpressive Halcyon before Figure 8 breathes a hint of life into the start of her set. The opening tracks fail to impress despite a sheep-like Goulding embarrassingly dancing like an old man, playing air-guitar and air-hula hooping, all in a Coppers brand of sexy.
Hanging On, a song from the new album which features a cameo from everyone’s favourite rapper with a small case of anger management problems; Tinnie Tempah. The slick and over-produced sound that Goulding and her band create here highlights why this performance still hasn’t quite clicked yet. The aim of creating a ‘sounds like the CD’ output just aids in creating a lack of live atmosphere on the night.
Only when the rest of her flock, I mean band, shag off does the noise and gig pick back up again. Guns & Horses shows the crowd why they paid their money. Goulding uses her uniquely husky and stuttering falsetto to dazzling effect as she soars out into the Olympia air. The crowd then embarrass themselves by loudly chatting over I Know You Care before Your Song sees their voices tested loudly once again.
Early on Goulding declares that the crowd are too polite to chant and roar, obviously sensing the bored nature of The Olympia crowd. In an attempt to remedy the situation, a couple roar from the pit to tell Goulding that they have just gotten engaged – everybody; awwww. Goulding then reluctantly dedicates the “depressing” My Blood to the couple, simply as it’s next in the set-list.
The most impressive run of songs on the night comes when Goulding performs Only You, Under the Sheets and Anything Could Happen. The crowd finally seem in tandem with the jolting light-show and punchy sound coming from the stage. Word drips to the stage from the premature chanter early on as Ellie plays big single Starry Eyed. The big single fails to impress as Ellie, in an attempt to ‘change it up’, rushes the tempo leading to a shoddy performance.
After a lengthy absence from the stage, Ellie returns for her encore consisting of the Calvin Harris track; I Need Your Love and Lights from her début album. The bass is cranked up to the max, the lights that were missing during the main performance reappear like magic, the crowd all go buck-bloody wild and that distinctive edgy sound from her second album that made everyone so curious to begin with shows its head. Where was this during the rest of the gig? God only knows.
While the gig in parts was sheepish (well, her upper half anyway), Ellie showed us glimpses of what previously made her one of the most entertaining and accomplished live acts around. Unfortunately, these glimpses were all too brief resulting in a disjointed, and in parts, boring gig.
Well, let’s look on the bright side; she did play Starry Eyed, leaving at least one crowd member happy. Job done!
Ellie Goulding Photo Gallery
Photos: Sean Smyth