Ellie Goulding Burns Bright at NYC Theater Show: Live Review

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Ellie Goulding performs at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2014 in New York City.

The U.K. singer is gaining momentum, and with a stage show like this, there's plenty of reason to root for her to reach true stardom.

Ellie Goulding is having her "moment," and she's been having it for quite some time now. In the nearly three years after "Lights" first hit the Hot 100, the burgeoning British siren has proven time and time again she's not going away anytime soon, and her current tour behind "Halcyon Days," the bonus edition of her 2012 LP "Halcyon," has been much more than a victory lap.



"Burn" has sparked Goulding with new life on Top 40 radio, and the modern synthpop banger provided a fitting close to her show on Wednesday night (Mar. 12) at New York's Theater at Madison Square Garden, the first show of her new headlining tour.The Gould Diggers (yes, that's what her superfans call themselves) are a growing lot, and their ranks (think sharply-dressed, mostly female teens and twenty-somethings) are getting used to populating larger and larger venues.

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She's got the EDM-friendly image to lure fashion-forward millennials, but Goulding's onstage aura smoothly spans eras of live music. She opened with a rendition of the underrated "Figure 8" injected with electric guitar and followed the rawk theme throughout the night. Elsewhere, she moved beyond the more minimal setup of her earlier "Halcyon" tours. A fiery co-ed trio of backup singers joined her on most songs, delivering some extra soul into the electro-pop mosaic; their contributions to the goth-R&B vibe of the James Blake cover "Life Round Here" and the a cappella runs of "My Blood" sounded absolutely vital.



By now, Goulding has her aesthetic down. She's musically daring without getting too weird, youth-culture chic but still looking outside the zeitgeist. Her flashy LED video backdrop was A-list worthy, injecting a sort of artist-centric Tumblr feed (flashing lightning over stormy seas, a slow-mo hummingbird flight and Goulding glamour shots) throughout the set. The sold-out crowd, smitten throughout, did seem more mesmerized than energized throughout most of the night.

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Goulding saved her handful of American hits for the very end. When she finally dropped the opening vocal lines of "Anything Could Happen," the crowd's energy grew considerably and the frenzy continued through "I Need Your Love," "Lights," and into the encore with " You My Everything" and of course, "Burn." It was great to finally see a frenzy of hands in the air in the pit up front, but it also revealed that, as mesmerizing as the show's first seventeen tracks were, Goulding is still short quite a few ubiquitous hits from becoming a bona fide pop star in America.

Since "Lights" became a slow-burning sleeper hit stateside, Goulding has had a steady stream of new releases and songs on the radio: 2012's stellar sophomore effort "Halcyon," the Calvin Harris collaboration "I Need Your Love," and the "Halcyon Days" album re-up, which birthed "Burn," her second-biggest hit to date. But she's certainly gaining momentum, and with a stage show like last night's, there's plenty of reason to root for her to reach true stardom.

Here's the full set list from Ellie Goulding's performance:

Figure 8
Ritual
Goodness Gracious
Animal
Starry Eyed
Stay Awake
Life Round Here (James Blake cover)
Guns and Horses
Beating Heart
Your Song (Elton John cover)
The Writer
Explosions
My Blood
Salt Skin
Only You
Every Time You Go
This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)
Anything Could Happen
I Need Your Love
Lights

Encore:
You My Everything
Burn

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