Of all the people you might have predicted seeing leaping around with a jet black Les Paul on the Pyramid Stage this year, Ellie Goulding might not have been the first name that sprang to mind. However that’s exactly how she finished ‘Burn’, dropping to her knees like Jimi Hendrix and finishing with a leap straight out of the classic rock playback.
It was just one of the unexpected highlights of her set early on Sunday evening which showed off the range and variety of her talents. She opened with ‘Delirium’ and the energetic ‘Aftertaste’, which concluded with her thrashing a stand up drum kit that looked to have been borrowed from a Haim show.
Sunday is traditionally a lethargic day at Glastonbury, especially under the gloomy grey skies that loomed overhead this year, but Goulding bounced around the stage like a particularly hyperactive aerobics instructor for the first few songs.
But her set was far from the one-speed Euro-dance party that her critics might have expected. Instead, after the aforementioned rock-out ending to ‘Burn’ she swapped her Les Paul for an acoustic guitar for the slow, country-tinged ‘Devotion’ on which her voice cracked with genuine emotion.
As that song morphed into the straight-up electro banger ‘Keep On Dancing’, it became very clear that this would be a set that was, like Goulding herself, impossible to pigeon-hole.
She had her Les Paul strapped back on for ‘Figure 8’, while the club hit ‘On My Mind’ had the strong crowd doing the sort of dancing that risks serious welly rash.
Goulding has been vocal in recent days on Twitter about her unhappiness with the EU referendum result, and she addressed the subject on stage without mentioning it directly. After saying how grateful she was to play the Pyramid Stage for the first time, she added: “I know things have been a bit weird for the last few days, actually that’s an understatement… But it’s really nice to be in a place where there’s so much unity, and everyone’s so happy, friendly and dancing together. I really hope for this beautiful country that we can all take that Glastonbury spirit back with us. I know some really horrible things have been happening, so take that spirit with you to the places you live. I really hope we can all carry the spirit of Glastonbury home with us.”
As she closed with more aerobic-dance on ‘Anything Could Happen’ and emotional swooner ‘Love Me Like You Do’, it was clear Goulding was giving out more energy than pretty much any other performer this weekend. Her set was a little bit dance, a little bit country and even a little bit rock’n’roll. What more could a Glastonbury crowd want?