Review: Ellie Goulding, John Newman at Manchester Arena

On Saturday March 19, Ellie Goulding’s Delirium World Tour made a welcome stop at Manchester Arena. With Ellie announcing earlier this month that she will be taking a break from music once her tour comes to an end, we thought we would go and check out the songstress in action before she takes a well deserved rest.

Whilst the audience filled the arena, we were treated to two fantastic support acts. First up was LANY, a three-piece band from California. The alt-pop electronic trio, made up of Paul Klein, Les Priest and Jake Goss, entertained the crowd with their laid-back tunes and great energy.  They had a The 1975 vibe about them and provided the audience with a chilled beginning to the night.

Paul Klein from LANY
Paul Klein from LANY

Considering that they were on stage fairly early, and a lot of concert goers not turning up until much later, they did very well to engage the early crowd that had come to watch the entire show. In all honesty, it was those latecomers that missed out, as LANY put on a great show. Despite acknowledging that they were unknown to the majority of the crowd, they were hopeful that they would return to the UK soon and we would definitely go and watch them again!

Next up was the main support act, the incredibly talented John Newman. Putting on what felt like a headline show himself, the powerful words of ‘Revolve’ echoed across the arena before John made his entrance onto the stage. He opened with ‘All My Heart’, one of our favourite tracks from his latest album Revolve which was the perfect start to his set. Next was ‘Cheating’, one of John’s better known hits as well as ‘Tiring Game’, another track from Revolve. John’s set was so high energy, and he also threw in plenty of dance moves which lifted the crowd’s spirits (possibly due to the questionable display of dad dancing on occasions – but hey, we absolutely loved it! Someone get John on Strictly ASAP!)

John Newman
John Newman

With his Yorkshire lilt ever present, John took to the centre of the stage to introduce the next song, ‘I’m Not Your Man’. In contrast to the energetic set we’d witnessed so far, this ballad gave John the chance to shine in a different light. His powerful lyrics and vocals really captivated the audience. You could tell that he put his all into his performance. Keen to bring the party atmosphere back to the arena, John went on to perform ‘Blame’, his number one hit with Calvin Harris. At this point, the entire crowd sang along to every word – the atmosphere was electric as the dance beats were felt across the arena. John continued with ‘Come and Get It’, another crowd favourite and a big hit for him last year.

With his set drawing to a close, John took us back to the early days of his career, by performing ‘Not Giving In’, one of his tracks with Rudimental. Once again, both John and the crowd were full of energy and he geared us up for the final song of his set, his number one single ‘Love Me Again’. This saw John going down to the front of the crowd, causing quite the hysteria amongst the lucky ones by the barrier. His incredible backing singers kept the energy going as he interacted with the crowd, before he made his way back onto the stage for the grand finale, even trashing some of the drum kit in true rockstar style!

In all honesty, we’ve never seen a support act get such a reaction from the crowd. The audience were in the palm of John’s hand and it felt as if we were at his own headline show. Whilst John was there as a support act, it’s a disservice to call him that as he was far more than JUST a support act. His stage presence was incredible, with brilliant vocals to match. We can’t wait to see him do some headline shows of his own, and we would like to be there at the front, busting some funky dance moves with him! John was a truly remarkable performer and we couldn’t have asked for better before the main event.

Following a quick change of set, it was then time for the lady of the evening, the wonderful Ellie Goulding. Her opening visuals were stunning and she made her way onto the stage with several male dancers in tow, for a brilliant performance of ‘Aftertaste’. Complete with her own dance moves, it was clear to see that Ellie was right at home on the arena stage.  The high energy continued as Ellie followed with ‘Holding On For Life’ and ‘Goodness Gracious’.

Ellie continued to showcase her choreography during the night, with plenty of moves on show during ‘Something in the Way You Move’. She has become such a polished performer over the years and it is clear to see how far she has come since she first started out in 2009. Her performance was also teamed up with some great stage visuals – the use of the screens and colours on stage were gorgeous. The crowd were loving every second of the night and went even wilder when Ellie performed ‘Outside’, one of her songs with Calvin Harris. Ellie was so energetic throughout, it’s no wonder that she needed a bit of ‘Party Petrol’ (a special beverage she had, alongside her water) to keep her energy up!

After rocking out from the moment she appeared on the stage, Ellie took a breather and grabbed her guitar for a beautiful performance of ‘Devotion’. A sign of a true performer in our eyes is someone that can both rock a crowd with their energy and captivate them with their vocals – Ellie managed to do just that. It was also great to see Ellie showcase a lot of material from her latest album Delirium, as she continued with ‘Keep On Dancing’ and ‘Don’t Need Nobody’.

Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding

Following a costume change, Ellie reappeared in a flowing white dress and made her way onto the B-stage whilst performing ‘Explosions’. Ellie followed with ‘How Long Will I Love You’ and ‘Army’, both of which were very popular with the audience and were sung word for word. Next up were ‘Lost and Found’ and ‘Figure 8’ before Ellie made her way off of the stage for another costume change.

Bouncing back on stage, Ellie sang ‘On My Mind’, one of her latest hits which whipped the crowd into a frenzy. She continued with ‘Codes’ and ‘We Can’t Move To This’ before performing another one of her hits with Calvin Harris, ‘I Need Your Love’. It was quite a sight to see the whole arena floor jumping up and down!

As Ellie approached her supposed last song, she made a request for the audience to put their phones in the air. Living in this day and age, everyone assumed that she would ask everyone to switch on their lights, so before Ellie could even continue, she was greeted with a sea of lights across the entire audience. As beautiful a sight as it was, what Ellie actually wanted was for people to put their phones away, and enjoy the last song without watching through a small screen. It was great to see more or less the entire arena put their phones away and enjoy ‘Burn’, dancing and singing away without thinking about taking pictures or filming the song.

As she exited the stage, the crowd were baying for an encore and soon enough Ellie reappeared for a moving performance of ‘Your Song’. The Elton John cover is a song that was familiar to every audience member and it was beautiful to hear the song being sung back to Ellie. It gave us goosebumps, we can’t even imagine how she must have felt!

With the crowd still enjoying the show without their phones in the air, Ellie took us back to one of her earlier hits, ‘Anything Could Happen’. Unfortunately, it was then really time to bring the show to an end but not before Ellie bowed out with a stunning performance of her number one hit ‘Love Me Like You Do’. It was the perfect ending to a phenomenal evening.

It is fair to say that Ellie Goulding is extremely underrated – she may not have the biggest voice but her wonderfully unique tones carried beautifully throughout the venue. She has a fantastic stage presence and it was brilliant to see her carry out choreography one minute, before stripping it all back the next. Ellie is an all-round show-woman and she also interacted well with the audience and came across as very endearing. Both LANY and John Newman also provided an excellent start to the evening, making sure that the whole night was one to remember.

It’s a shame that Ellie will be taking a break after her tour but it’s a very well deserved one. She has become a much loved performer on the festival circuit over the years and it’s incredible to see her selling out arenas across the world. Ellie Goulding is a superstar, there’s no doubt about it – and we’ll be ready for her with open arms when she returns.




Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina