Ellie Goulding live at the Victoria and Albert Museum
Slowly and quietly, Ellie Goulding walks onscreen with refined grace, her red dress standing out against the wash of blue lights. She begins with Start, a slow lament with lingering regrets. Her vocals are shaky, but the song itself is a perfect opener; it introduces us to her latest album while encompassing all the different tones and emotions Goulding sets out to explore throughout the rest of this experience. The story of her tracklist is simple – it journeys through a cycle of bad relationships before reaching better love at the end.
Love Me Like You Do is the best overall performance of the night. While her vocals struggled, the composition of the track’s different components was executed superbly. Her breathless singing is picked up by the harmony of the backup singers, who, in turn, work well with the orchestra to create a full exponential crescendo that immerses viewers. The lights flow with every turn of rhythm, engaging the audience even more. The orchestra in both Love Me Like You Do and Tides does a perfect job of exemplifying the studio version of the backing track while still injecting new life into it.
Her performance of Woman, however, is the overall highlight and its simplicity is very much appreciated. The shimmer of the spotlight against Goulding’s reflection on the water is a visual echo of the lyrics: “I don’t know where I stand” and “That’s just the woman I am.” The story wraps up with Burn and Brightest Blue, which juxtapose each other to create a metaphor of a phoenix burning its past to start afresh and find new love.
Goulding is a free spirit, which is reflected in this concert; she dances without a care and lets herself loose. Unlike most other online concerts that have recently emerged, she uses everything at her disposal to engage viewers: the venue, the band, the back-up vocals, the lighting and visual effects, the pageant dancer, even down to her red attire. And while it doesn’t come close to a live concert, it’s reminiscent of something more cinematic and theatrical. You just can’t capture a crowd atmosphere through a screen. But what Goulding was able to provide was something new that you wouldn’t find in a physical concert.
Photo: Jennifer McCord
For further information and future events visit Ellie Goulding live’s website here.
Watch the video for Love I’m Given here: