The Fillmore, Miami Beach
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Better Than: Tears, fears and the heartbreak of young love.
How many singer-songwriters can boast a sold-out show for their first performance in Miami?
Oh, and just so the haters know ... That is her real singing voice.
The chart-climbing blonde beauty from Hereford, England (not London, as she noted on stage), gave fans an emotional and heartfelt performance of songs from both her debut album, Lights, and her latest release, Halcyon.
Photo by Sayre Berman
As it turns out, Miami is home to a lot of die-hard Goulding fans, and they let her know by singing along and screaming their lungs out from the word go.
She hit the demurely lit stage highlighted by a single spotlight, going right into it with Halcyon's opening track "Don't Say a Word." The audience sounded like a bunch of screaming girls at a heartthrob concert as Goulding beat on a small drum kit by the mike, backed by harmonic vocal tracks and a four-piece band on keys, drums, and guitars.
After playing through "Halcyon" and "Figure 8," the songstress finally addressed her adoring fans.
"Good evening everyone," she said as her acolytes roared. "This is my first show here and I'm so excited." She continued, beginning her next number and adding, "This song is about running away, and it's called 'Salt Skin.'"
Photo by Sayre Berman
Her vocal delivery was both honest and believable. She moved from one end of the stage to the other, pausing to sing to screaming pockets of fans who reached their arms toward the star. The pit was a constant sea of digital cameras and camera phone screens. Ellie seemed to relish the attention, taking time to ask the crowd members how they were feeling and sharing insight into her songs before beginning again.
Halfway through the set, her band left Goulding alone on the stage to work through a soft rendition of "Guns and Horses." She was then joined for "I Know You Care" by key player and guitarist "Fit Chris," whose nickname, Ellie explained, meant she had a thing for him. Ooh la la, indeed.
She took the crowd on an epic journey with peaks and valleys, awash in ever-changing mood lighting. She's a dichotomous figure. Everything about Ellie is elegantly rebellious, her melancholy songs are tinged with hope, and her sheer and shiny dress was paired with big black boots. She's almost like any other talented singing diva. But then again, her style is totally unique.
Photo by Sayre Berman
Nearing the end of her show, Goulding kicked up the energy level again, driving through her exciting new single "Anything Could Happen" as the audience jumped to its feet. Soon, she announced her "last song," and went into the popular Lights track "Starry Eyed."
But of course, she had yet to play her biggest hit, and everyone stood around dutifully demanding "one more song."
"Hi, we're back. Oh my god, oh my god," she said sarcastically, returning to the mike.
She gave a two-song encore, beginning with her hit cover of Elton John's "Your Song" before finally letting them have it.
"Thank you for coming this evening and for supporting me," she said one last time. "You don't know how much this means to me to be here in Florida, and in Miami. I'd give you all a big hug."
Then the familiar introductory notes of her number-one pop hit "Lights" came through the speakers and people entirely lost their shit. After a false finish, the band kept going, dropping a version of the closing chords that more resembled the popular dubstep remix than the original as the Fillmore's lights flashed like crazy.
After the encore's climax, it was just bows and kisses from the English star as she left the stage for good. All in all, it must have been one of the more successful performance debuts that anyone's ever had in this town.
Who knows, maybe someone will grant her wish to come back and play Ultra.
Personal Bias: Yo, women of Miami ... Y'all have got to talk less during concerts. We get that you're stoked to be out with your girls, but a heartfelt performance isn't the time to catch up on petty bullshit.
The Crowd: Everything from young hipster kids to giggly early-20-something women, couples, gays, lesbians, and even some classy mature motherfuckers. And some half-stoked boyfriends.
Ellie Goulding's Setlist:
-"Don't Say a Word"
-"Guns and Horses"
-"I Know You Care"
-"Under the Sheets"
-"Anything Can Happen"
-"Without Your Love"
-"I Need Your Love"
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