By Gillian Driscoll, special to the American-Statesman
Hard on the heels of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Ellie Goulding brought the “Delirium” to Cedar Park Center on Tuesday night, accompanied by rising pop stars Bebe Rexha and Years & Years.
With a string of writing credits under her belt, opener Bebe Rexha is breaking out as an artist and her star power was on display throughout the short set. Her vocal prowess and passion underscore Rexha’s assertion on her hit single “Me, Myself & I” – she clearly has “fire in her soul.”
British trio Years and Years dazzled with energy, convivial spirit and powerhouse vocals. Lead singer Olly Alexander danced around stage in sparkling silver pants, and warmed up the audience with infectious dance tracks “King” and “Desire.” Alexander showed his range when he sat down in front of the keyboard for a moving performance of ballad, “Eyes Shut.”
After a brief interlude, Ellie Goulding took the stage. The pop singer emerged behind draping gold fabric, smoke and four dancers, as she opened with the spirited “Aftertaste,” which she capped off with a drum solo.
Goulding played a number of her radio-heavy hits during the 90-minute set, including her 2010 breakout single “Lights,” as well as “Figure 8,” “On My Mind,” “Burn,” and “Don’t Need Nobody.”
Supported by a live band, three back-up singers, a light show, and video projections, Goulding worked the room as she danced, interacted with the audience, and had multiple wardrobe changes. Admittedly some of it was a bit cheesy, but cheesy is part of Goulding’s appeal. While singing “Codes” a group of girls next to me confessed, “This is a teenybopper song but I kind of like it.”
Goulding’s carefree dance anthems hit a sweet spot among fans.
Nearing the end of the set, Goulding asked everyone to raise their phones in the air, and the glows illuminated the arena like a starry night. “Now put them away,” she shouted. “Remember what concerts were like before cell phones?” Goulding asked, encouraging everyone to be in the moment for the next song (“Burn”), even singling out a few “rebels” who were still behind their screens, documenting.
While it was a nice sentiment, the effect lasted mere seconds before many reached for their devices to snap, Tweet, and capture said “moment.”
With an audience comprised mostly of tweens and their parent chaperones, it’s safe to say the majority of her fans don’t know a world without cellphones. They should give Goulding’s suggestion a try sometime – for at least one whole song.
Goulding closed the night with encore songs “Anything Could Happen” and the “Fifty Shades of Grey” smash “Love Me Like You Do” to an explosion of smoke and gold confetti as she took a quick bow and disappeared backstage.