Sometimes you just have to let it burn, burn, burn: an Ellie Goulding concert experience

Last Thursday evening, an amalgamation of voices — predominantly carried by girls aged 18 to 23 — chanted “Ellie! Ellie! Ellie!” inside the Theater at Madison Square Garden, attempting to yield an encore from British pop star Ellie Goulding following her nearly 20-song set.

Among those voices was another — a stark departure from that young female demographic. Rather, a 26-year-old male, a newspaper editor and quasi-blogger from Long Island, vociferously shouting alongside the masses.

That man was yours truly.

Ellie Goulding

On March 13, I attended an Ellie Goulding concert, her second in two consecutive nights inside Madison Square Garden’s theater, a notable stop along her massive, multiple-continent tour that will stretch into August of 2014. I was there with a friend, also male, also outside that average demographic age range.

Now you may ask yourself why two males on the wrong side of 20 would want to spend money to attend such a concert knowing full well they would be in the minority, both in gender and age?

The truth is, I stopped caring a long time ago.

I certainly don’t mean it as a slight to Ms. Goulding — my intent is not to imply that there is a stigma that comes with attending one of her concerts. But unfortunately in life, there is a stigma attached to practically everything.

But I have no qualms announcing that I am a giant fan of Ellie Goulding, and it was actually the second time I’ve seen her — the first being at the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware last year, where she was one of several dozen acts performing throughout the weekend, giving me ample excuse at the time to tell people why I saw Ellie Goulding live.

This time, I needed no excuse. If I like an artist, you’re damn well right I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to see them live. And I have no shame seeing any type of artist, especially not female singer-songwriters. Heck, in the last five months, I have seen Kacey Musgraves, Sara Bareilles and Avril Lavigne live as well, all of which were respectively awesome.

Just for the record though: my musical taste is extremely eclectic, ranging from classic to indie to folk rock, and I see (and spend way too much money on) all types of shows.

But back to Ellie. Or I should I say, “Ellie! Ellie Ellie!”

Ellie Goulding2The 27-year-old has seen quite the rise in popularity the last few years. Having already achieved stardom in the U.K., her single “Lights” made her known in the U.S., reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2011. Since then, she’s produced hit single after hit single, including “Burn,” “Anything Could Happen,” and “I Need Your Love,” (the latter as a featured artist for Scottish DJ Calvin Harris) over two successful albums.

It’s earned her quite the fan base, and that’s how she sold out two shows in the most famous arena in the universe.

I’m a big fan of Ellie Goulding because I have a lot of respect for anybody who writes and performs their own music, and does so with their own unique flair of artistry. Those who’ve heard Goulding before can attest that her sound is not something you hear from the typical musician, and that’s refreshing to me.

Plus, she’s really, really pretty. That helps.

Her lively, energetic performance was very highly received within Madison Square Garden, and, for the record, we succeeded in bringing her out for an encore. Which — though more of a formality than an accomplishment at these type of shows — is something I feel that my masculine, booming 26-year-old male voice had a lot to do with … more than 100 rows back from the stage.

As I said, Ellie Goulding’s sound is kind of difficult to define. She’s a pop star, no doubt, and I consider her songs a mix of a singer-songwriter and dance. They’re mostly upbeat, highly suitable for social gatherings, and, high school proms … I’m sure.

Fans of fantasy-fiction and dystopian novels like myself will also note she wrote songs for both the Hunger Games: Catching Fire and upcoming Divergent soundtracks, for what it’s worth.

But, the point is, if you like something, you have to own it. Who cares about outside perception? If you live your life wondering how others will judge you, then you have to ask yourself … are you really living?

Then, and only then, can you truly let it burn, burn, burn.

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