Pop music in 2015 isn’t for wallflowers. With Justin Bieber’s “What Do U Mean?” and Major Lazer’s “Lean On” running the dance floor, Ellie Goulding struts in with her head-bobbing album Delirium. Combining electronic dance with sweetheart pop, Goulding doesn’t leave her EDM home in the dust but meshes it with her diverse influences (she’s name-dropped Bjork, Beyonce and Drake in the past) without sounding like a copycat. It also helps that she’s in a happy place too. Often gushing on-record about her beau, singer Dougie Poynter, it’s no wonder her latest offering is upbeat yet true to her musical personality. She even told Billboard before the show, “Deliriously happy still has a dark side to it.”
There was nothing dark about her AMEX Unstaged show on Wednesday night at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The grand production — helmed by actress Scarlett Johansson — employed lightsaber-esque props and kaleidoscopic background images of skydivers, palm trees and Goulding’s “EG” emblem on a gigantic screen behind the six-person band. Goulding had her own special set-up, with drums and a mini-keyboard, which came in handy when she added the bass for the Halcyon track “Goodness Gracious.”
Mixing gems from the 2013 LP with newer cuts from Delirium, there were no signs of fatigue despite Goulding’s packed New York schedule filled with Tonight Show and Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show performances. A self-professed workout-aholic (she recently bared her chiseled six-pack for Shape magazine), the U.K. songbird was jumping, body rolling and head thrashing — sometimes all in one swift motion — for most the 17 tracks she performed. The exceptions of the night were her candlelight rendition of “Explosions” (an Ed Sheeran favorite) and the Fifty Shades of Grey love note, “Love Me Like You Do.” With a second mini-stage set up in the middle of the crowd and the lights dimmed, Goulding flourished equally as both pop balladeer and dancing queen.
“This is such a dream show for me,” said Goulding, who said some version of “thank you” after every song she performed. Despite her rock star status, she was a woman of the people, getting the most crowd participation for her closing numbers “Lights” and “On My Mind” just before delivering a fiery, confetti-filled encore with “Burn.” One look at her itinerary for the new year (her six month-long global trek begins in Germany on Jan. 21, 2016 and wraps in New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 21) could cause any seasoned hitmaker to shudder but her Unstaged set confirms Goulding’s ready.
Check out the full set list for Ellie Goulding’s AMEX Unstaged show below and relive the night with the rebroadcast here.
Something In the Way You Move
Keep On Dancin’
Don’t Need Nobody
Love Me Like You Do
Anything Could Happen
I Need Your Love
On My Mind