WASHINGTON, DC: Ellie Goulding performs at Echostage. March 16, 2014. ? Brandon Wu / for the Washington City Paper.

“I’m a little shy,” Ellie Goulding said somewhere in the middle of her performance last night at Echostage, but the audience could be pardoned for not believing her. Backed by a large ensemble of instrumentalists and backup singers, Goulding seemed fluent in everything she did—-singing, playing guitar and electronics, pounding on floor toms, and working the crowd. She moved around the stage with so much confidence and charisma that it’s hard to remember that her first U.S. tour took her through Rock & Roll Hotel only three years ago.

Goulding’s lengthy setlist seemed to be constructed with a precise formula in mind, starting with a few dance-pop numbers, spending a substantial chunk of time on quieter balladry in the middle, and ending with the big radio hits (“Burn,” “Lights” and Calvin Harris‘ “I Need Your Love” made up three of the last four songs including the encore). The sound at Echostage didn’t seem to do her many favors, but no one seemed to care. It takes some chops to charm everyone in so cavernous a venue, but Goulding’s performance managed to seem somehow intimate—-while still feeling like a huge blowout dancehall production when the time was right.

30 more photos, including of openers Conway, in the full slideshow.