Live Review: Ellie Goulding / Olivia Lunny – O2 City Hall, Newcastle 19.10.23

Francis Fitzgerald

Words and photos by Francis Fitzgerald

For starters, I should say that superstar pop divas are a little outside my comfort zone, but I was invited to review the Ellie Goulding show and was more than pleasantly surprised. If anyone says they don’t know any of her catalogue, they are probably wrong. Nearly every song in the set was familiar from radio, street background, and quite possibly the ether. But to divert slightly to begin with, I have to mention the thirty minutes of sublime pop delivered by Canadian Olivia Lunny. Judging by her reception, she very much impressed the City Hall crowd too.

On to the main course. Ellie Goulding delivered exactly what the appreciative crowd wanted. She appeared on stage about 10 minutes late, by which time a persistent chant was ringing from the crowd. ELLIE- ELLIE-ELLIE! First up was ‘Better Man’ from the eponymous new album for which the Higher Than Heaven tour is named. However, the album has been out for six months now, so everything on it was familiar to the crowd, which erupted with the first few bars of the song. There followed some more highlights from that album, interspersed in a set list that also included a tour of her greatest hits. My favourites were the techno flavoured songs produced with Calvin Harris, such as ‘Miracle’ and the anthemic ‘Outside’.

Ellie’s soprano and often vibrato vocal range divides opinion amongst some critics, but in my view, it is perfectly suited to this brand of bouncy techno pop. Add to this that the band and backing singers were flawless and it was a happy Toon crowd that dispersed into the rainy Newcastle night at the end of the show.

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