No concert would be complete without the artist professing their love for their fans; it's even better if they can greet the crowd in the local tongue. "Ni hao, Hong Kong!" and "Wo ai ni" were Ellie Goulding's words of choice. We're a tad disappointed that she didn't give Cantonese a go, but her gig more than made up for it.
Her success on the Billboard charts might make her a pop princess, albeit an indie one, but she's … not strictly pop. She's much, much edgier than that - she head-bangs, sure, but she also drums and plays guitar like a pro (her live accompaniments blended seamlessly into the show).
It's impressive how well Goulding's music translates into a live set - the band gives it a bit of edge, while the synths take a backseat. It's a slightly different take from the original that makes the music louder, and the enjoyment more immediate.
Even with all her head banging and dancing, her vocals were on point - breathy, ever-so raspy and powerful. The music was loud, but not distracting.
Her quieter songs were just as compelling - her live cover of Elton John's Your Song has nothing on the studio version. Hearing it in person is something else entirely, and no YouTube video could ever capture that moment as well.
As hypnotic as that rendition was, it paled in comparison to the crowd's reaction to the song that she's best known for, Lights. As the song name suggests, the crowd didn't need to be told twice to keep their phones up to light up Star Hall.
It's inaccurate to say that Goulding left the best for last, but the last few songs were indeed, her fan favorites - saying that the concert ended on a high note would be an understatement. Dance-pop hit I Need Your Love left the crowd dizzy and starry-eyed, and by the time the encore came around, we were pretty grateful we'd been given a few minutes to catch our breath …
Before continuing, however, she made a point of giving all her Hong Kong Twitter followers a shout-out for helping bring her here. Her next song, Beating Hearts, spoke of uncertainty as it's likely she won't be back until her third album comes out, and that might be more than a year away, but we did "make the best of what is left/ and hold tight". Even so, Beating Hearts changed up the pace just enough for us to recover and go for one last hurrah.
Goulding ended the show with Burn, and you can bet the audience didn't hold back.