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After having only just released her sophomore album, Halcyon, just over a month ago, Ellie Goulding’s Oxford Arts Factory performance could not have come at a better time. Spurred on by a torrent of international acclaim, Ellie Goulding took to the stage before a crowd of fanatics and admirers alike.
From the onset, her skill was unquestionable. Opening with lead track from Halcyon, Don’t Say a Word, her vocal range was not only pitch-perfect, but an absolute pleasure to listen to. However, it seemed that nerves were beginning to get the better of her as she initially hid behind the microphone, somewhat afraid. But in a way this added to her authenticity as an artist, and any thoughts of her inability to perform were thrown away very quickly as she warmed up to the eccentric crowd. This presence of nerves may also be accounted for by the distinct lack of a support when Tenzin was nowhere to be seen.
Powering through her enticing discography, Ellie smashed out tracks from both albums, covering all the crowd favorites, including Lights, Figure 8 and several others. Ellie brought the power and the crowd brought the passion (and glitter) as Ellie continued to prove why she has continued to go from strength to strength, and why some label her as the best voice in pop.
The hour-and-half set continued to build upon itself, peaking during the final two songs. Performing her version of Elton John’s Your Song was a clear highlight of the night. In no way am I saying that Ellie’s own songs don’t compare to the likes of Elton’s, it was the delivery, the passion, and the emotion that she deployed during these minutes that were truly something else. The stripped-back cover contrasted the remainder of the night, filled with heavy bass and upbeat drums. It was this contrast that made her rendition of this timeless classic such a significant aspect of the entire evening, a moment when all put away their phones and cameras to simply watch and absorb the true spectacle that was unfolding before them. Closing with Starry Eyed, Ellie continued to display her versatility. Shifting from the Elton ballad to her own dance anthem was a true testate to her talent and ability.
To the gentleman who presented Ellie with the set of flowers, I thank you. Someone needed to recognise the sensational performance, and go beyond the quick blasts of applause. As the glitter storm settled, and Ellie left the stage, all in attendance were left longing for more. To Future Entertainment, your booking of Ellie for next year’s instalment of Future Music Festival is possibly one of the wisest decisions you made. After one of the best vocal performances to take that stage in a very long time, you sure are in for a hell of a performance come March 2013. See you then.