Ellie Goulding performing her Delirium World Tour with special guest John Newman at The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Sunday 13th March 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Ellie Goulding has certainly earned her upcoming break. The Herefordshire singer recently announced that when her current 80 date world tour ends, she is taking some time off to recharge. But before she can even think of that holiday she had to entertain this packed Motorpoint Arena.

Supporting her on this tour is the Yorkshire lad made good, John Newman. He had burst onto the music scene via London quartet Rudimental’s euphoric Feel The Love, the pop single of 2012. Picking out high tempo Northern Soul tinged tracks from his two albums Tribute and Resolve this soulster spun, strutted and sweated across the stage with endless energy, whipping up this appreciative audience with hits such as Come And Get Me and Cheating.

Love Me Again encouraged this crowd to dance and clap their hands, and backed by a band complete with their impressive brass instruments, he brought his set to an end with Not Giving In.

John Newman had nicely warmed up this packed arena, with his set which had crackled with verve and energy and not forgetting some stunning dance moves.

With a backdrop of giant screens, ghostly acoustics were played as the stage was covered in smoke, causing the crowd to go wild. Eventually the smoke lifted and a multi-coloured image of Goulding appeared on the centre screen and as the screens gradually transformed into a frantic slideshow of Goulding’s face before descending into a cosmic light show; she rose up from the stage floor from behind a gold curtain dressed in leather hotpants teamed with Doc Martens.

Opening her set with a track from her new album Delirium, Aftertaste had her marching around the stage with her fabulous backing dancers before taking to the drums to display her musicality.

Her two Calvin Harris collaborations, Outside and I Need Your Love were accompanied by the inevitable ceiling jets of smoke and saw sections of the packed crowd jumping around like eager Easter bunnies.

Whilst her set may have been a touch new album heavy with the likes of Holding On For Life, Don’t Need Nobody, and Codes, she also entertained with some classic crowd favourites. Goulding has a commanding voice that is too often dismissed as breathy. But it has husk and great range, particularly on songs such as Lost And Found.

But the quiet moments were the most affecting. Take Devotion, an acoustic ballad, which was a sweet song, with just a guitar and a spotlight, and a gorgeous octave leap in the chorus. But just as you were craving more of this subtly, she disappears down a hole in the stage to return dressed in a neon like wet suit.

Another couple of new tracks were given an outing; Keep On Dancin’ and Don’t’ Need Nobody, which was a strong powerful dance song. She treated this crowd to Figure 8 whilst Army, she revealed was written about her best friend and which revealed her sensitivity.

Throughout the set the arena was awash with twinkling lights emitted from the ever present smart phones, and were never more so in evidence as she reminded us of the song which started it all for her; How Long Will I Love You? With nine million Instagram followers and six million on Twitter, she is herself no stranger to social media. But for the main set closer, Burn she asked the crowd to put their phones in their pockets and most obliged.

For the encore there was another costume change, this time a white flowing dress, and as she covered Elton John’s Your Song, those phones were out again. Finishing the night off with Anything Could Happen and Love Me Like You Do, Goulding ended the show on a high and as golden glitter fell from the ceiling, she left the stage to rapturous applause.

So with a tour that finishes in New York’s Madison Square Gardens in June, this is one pop star who will definitely have earned her break.