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Five thoughts from Ellie Goulding’s Boulevard Pool show

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Ellie Goulding brought effervescent energy (and tunes) to the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool on April 12.
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1. I wasn’t sure how the British songstress’ signature dreamy-yet-dancey sound would translate from the studio to the stage, but Goulding proved Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool that she’s no auto-tuned, predictable live act. With subtle nuances, some scatting and a more raspy quality to her soprano—not to mention the rocking live band backing her—radio hits like “Starry Eyed,” “Lights,” and “Anything Can Happen” really came to life.

2. The presence of three backing vocalists is worth noting, but the sound was on point and Goulding's voice still managed to shine. In fact, the true gems of the set were the songs that really exposed her voice. She showed off powerhouse pipes on “Explosions,” sailing through the anthemic hook while exhibiting a restrained, delicate expression in softer areas of the performance. Also impressive: Her falsetto—especially the falsetto glissandos—during “Only You.”

3. Goulding balanced the set between songs off her Lights debut and sophomore follow-up Halcyon. Also included was a cover of Elton John’s “Your Song,” another standout performance, as the artist treated the crowd to a gentle, stripped-down version of the well-known '70s ballad.

4. But Goulding didn’t just sing, she showed off her musician chops, too. She set up behind a set of tom drums for a couple inclusions and strapped on a guitar to deliver a blowout ending to mega-hit set closer “Burn.” It might have been for effect, it might have been for sound, but either way, it added to the performance. Props.

5. Goulding might sing synthy dance pop, but what went down at the Cosmo this weekend felt like a rock concert. The fact that the backing band was completely gelling all night helped, but Goulding’s confidence in her voice and as a performer was definitely another factor. A force to be reckoned with, she knows how to sell, and sing, the sh*t out of her songs. Who's that pop artist across the street at Planet Hollywood, again?

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Mark Adams joined the Las Vegas Weekly in 2010 and now serves as the magazine’s web editor. You can also ...

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