Taking the stage at The Studio in Auckland during her first trip to New Zealand, the UK's latest favourite popette Ellie Goulding (she even played at the royal wedding last year), apologised that she hadn't been to New Zealand sooner.

Which was rather sweet of her, if somewhat unnecessary as two years ago hardly anyone down here had heard her name. But by the time her performance was over, she'd proved why she's been winning endless accolades in her home country, and selling out concerts.

Wearing a sheer, strappy black bodysuit, with black leather hotpants, and a floaty black cardigan, Goulding was every inch the trendy rising star as she played a high-energy 90-minute set that drew mostly from her recently released second album Halcyon, and her hit debut Lights.

Considering Halcyon has been available for only a couple of weeks, the crowd were, surprisingly, keen to sing along to new songs such as Don't Say A Word, Explosions and My Blood.


It was the big numbers like Only You and Anything Can Happen that came off the best - with those tracks Goulding would be right at home performing at any arena, and had the crowd happily jumping.

In the smaller surrounds of The Studio, the generous backing tracks, samples, drum beats, and layers of synth, courtesy of her four-piece band, did occasionally threaten to overwhelm her voice, but she kept everyone's attention with some joyful dance moves.

And when she stripped away the production to sing a song like I Know You Care with simple piano accompaniment, despite sounding a little huskier and more well worn than on record, her talent for an emotional delivery came across as strongly as fellow Brit Adele.

There were a few less stellar moments - the audience's attention wandered through Joy, and Under the Sheets as Goulding seemed distracted (perhaps by the fact that the air-conditioning fans were incredibly loud) and half-hearted.

But they loved her suggestion that New Zealand might actually be a place she'd like to live, and when she led them through a sing-along of Elton John's Your Song (which she performed for Wills and Kate on their big day), before finishing the encore with her early hit Starry Eyed, they were once again captivated by her easy vocal prowess and ability to balance her pop-diva hits with an every-girl persona.

Who: Ellie Goulding
Where: The Studio
When: Friday, October 29