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Ellie Goulding @ Challenge Stadium, Wednesday, June 28

Ellie Goulding – Photo by Rachael Barrett

Challenge Stadium always feels a) empty even when packed, and b) like borrowed space from the Wildcats who you just know will bounce into the stadium shouting, “We booked this space ages ago! Check the diary!” This didn’t happen though because the Wildcats have a new home at the Perth Arena and Ellie Goulding fans are way too cool to let a bunch of b-ball nerds charge the stadium.

New Zealand synth pop duo Broods provided support with their glitchy, breathy songs. They set the tone with their kaleidoscopic alt-pop hit, Bridges. Then the stage was transformed into a glittery paradise and a four-piece band prepped the audience for Ellie Goulding, who opened the show with Figure 8, from her second studio album Halcyon, bending down to the fans in the front row and smiling.

‘It’s really sad when you have to leave someone special behind to go on tour,” she told us. “But I get to be with you all.” The crowd erupted into raucous applause. “I don’t usually talk much but I’m talking a lot now. I need some water,” she said, taking a sip from a plastic bottle. “It just means I’m comfortable though. Honestly, I usually never talk to the audience. Anyway. This is a song about that special person.” Chris, who we were told has been with Goulding from the start, five years ago, begins Your Song, an Elton John cover from Goulding 2010 release Bright Lights.

This concert, ┬ápart of Goulding’s Halcyon Days, a repackaged album of Halcyon, tour was the first time I’d listened to Goulding. I had no idea what to expect, other than the brief comment my friend made. “Ellie got me through the worst breakup of my life,” she said. Eeep. I can’t listen to an hour plus of breakup songs, I’d thought. But Goulding balanced the bangers, Goodness Gracious, I Need You Love, and Anything Could Happen, the chorus of which has become synonymous with summer and good times, with the ballads, Explosions, Beating Heart (from Divergent) and The Writer.

The synth pop artist rose to fame in 2010, after winning both the BBC Sound Of 2010 poll and the Critics’ Choice Award at The 2010 Brit Awards, making her the second artist to win both awards in the same year. She’s collaborated with Skrillex, supported Passion Pit, Active Child, Tinie Tempah, and opened for U2. Before coming to Perth, she played at Coachella. Goulding commanded the audience through the breathy ballads and bangers, while managing to make the spaciousness of Challenge Stadium feel imitate and inviting. The rest of Australia is in for a treat.

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