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Ellie Goulding live review: gold for Goulding?

O2 Insitute Birmingham, 23rd October 2023

On Monday 23rd October, in Birmingham’s hotspot music location O2 Institute, 10-time platinum single singer Ellie Goulding truly gave her all in a live performance.

Does the name Ellie Goulding scream the back of the car in summer 2013 blasting ‘Burn’, the iconic ‘Love Me Like You Do’ that does what it says on the tin and truly gets you delirious? Or do you resonate more with the recently released single ‘Somebody’ and album Higher than Heaven (Deluxe)?

Stepping onto the stage in her indigo mesh fit, Goulding performed her fifth performance of the Higher Than Heaven tour so far, previously showcasing her fresh music in Dublin, Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester. The 36-year-old artist was as energetic as always in her stage presence, committing to giving endless zeal throughout the show and transmitting her passion to fans by encouraging them to sing along and get involved.

Ellie opened the stage with her astral, dream-like hit from Higher Than Heaven, ‘Better Man’

Having performed prior to her album release in London’s iconic venue, KOKO, in Camden, earlier this year, and resultantly awarded five stars by The Evening Standard due to her “glorious display”, the pressure was on. In the luminescent, theatre-like venue of the O2 Institute in Birmingham, fans excitedly gathered to enjoy an evening of guaranteed good music. With a loyal following of over 37 million monthly Spotify listeners and a sale of over 27 million albums, 218 singles and 43 billion streams, it goes without saying that Goulding holds a reputation within the hearts of many.

In her perfectly coordinated fit, Ellie opened the stage with her astral, dream-like hit from her new album, Higher Than Heaven, ‘Better Man’. It was clear that the artist had a versatile and individual voice and sound, making her live performance even more worth the wait. Backed by a crimped tin foil backing, adding to the celestial ambience of her album, the female phenomenon was supported by a pair of backing vocalists.

A show worth watching, although perhaps slightly inconsistent

The artist herself had a drum at hand, alongside a keyboard and an acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, some of the songs didn’t quite land as successfully as others as there were occasional belters that had the whole crowd engaged while others seemed to just be background music for conversation. Songs performed from her recent 2023 album, unfortunately, weren’t as nearly successful as anticipated as Goulding was faced with bored looks.

Goulding’s earlier tracks, however, such as her 2014 hit ‘Outside’ got the energy pumping, as fans roared the lyrics as if it was their first ever listen. Goulding, equally, revelled in the performance jumping around to all corners of the stage and throwing her head back and forth in enjoyment of the song. Another spine-chilling moment was her banger featured in Fifty Shades of Grey, ‘Love Me Like You Do’. As a pink glow spread across the foil backing, endless phone cameras captured the sea of voices singing along to the creator of the hit tune. Through the love-heart shapes formed by the hands of fans, Goulding could be seen requesting the audience to “sing it with me” as she directed the mic to the crowd and grinningly shut her eyes as a blissfully in-sync hum of “What are you waiting for…?” introduced the chorus.

In her encore, she also included her beloved cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ and ended on the electric and belterBurn’ which charged her venue and closed the performance perfectly.

Despite the impressively acoustic rendition of Madonna’s ‘Frozen’ showcasing Goulding’s unique, notable tone and variation, the Calvin Harris drop of ‘I Need Your Love’ and the artist’s own anthems ‘Anything Could Happen’ and ‘Lights’ pricked up the ears of her audience. A show worth watching, although perhaps slightly inconsistent.



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