This was my second time seeing Ed Sheeran live. It was at the Barclaycard arena in Birmingham on the 28th of April 2017. The first time was at Wembley Stadium in 2015. That show was amazing, it was the first time I was blown away by an artists talent. He controlled 80,000 people with his voice and his acoustic guitar, something I have never seen anyone else do. There was no special effects to entertain us, just talent.
We bought the tickets before Ed’s new album even came out, and we had no hesitations doing so, due to the faith we had that it would be great. Even if the album wasn’t great we could rely on Ed to put on an amazing show anyway. But needless to say I loved Divide and think it’s a great album.
We came during Ed’s second support act which was Anne Marie. This was my first time seeing her perform live, but I was aware of who she was and I had heard a couple of her tracks. She was extremely talented and had an angelic voice. My personal highlight was when she performed her recent hit with Clean Bandit ‘Rockabye’.
Then it was time for Ed. There was roughly a twenty minute gap between Anne Marie and Ed. Due to the character and the man he is I didn’t expect Ed to keep us waiting past his scheduled 8:30 start time and he didn’t disappoint me. He came out all by himself, with no music playing or special effects. He didn’t come out of the floor or come in a glass box, he just walked from the side of the stage with his guitar. Here he began to play the tune for ‘Castle on the Hill’ and started working his magic on his loop pedals like he does so well. The crowd went ballistic for their favourite red head as he entered the stage and began to sing.
After Ed enticed the crowd with ‘Castle on the Hill’ he played a song of his new album called ‘Eraser’ this was followed by Ed’s classic and the song that brought him his first taste of success ‘The A Team’. Ed explained that when he first played the song in Birmingham it was in a bar called The Hare and Hounds and that the amp broke whilst he was performing, so he stood on a table in the middle of the bar and performed the song. The whole crowd sang together as he played the nostalgic tune.
After this, he upped the tempo and played his chart topping song ‘Don’t’ which he cleverly transitioned into his new song ‘New Man’. He went back and forth with the two tracks and the crowd ate it up as he went from singing “I don’t wanna know about your new man” to “don’t f**k with my love”.
Once again he switched the tempo and slowed it down with a song I love off the new album called ‘Dive’. And before you know it he was telling everyone to raise their hands in the air and jump to his hit song ‘Bloodstream’. This was followed by his song ‘Happier’.
Then Ed played his new single ‘Galway Girl’. He started playing the tune on his guitar whilst performing the backing vocals into his second microphone. Every phone in the arena seemed to be in the air once they knew what song was coming. The crowd lapped it up as he performed the track whilst the background screens were lit up with green and floating Guinness’.
This was followed by his slow track ‘How Would You Feel’. Every time he would finish a song he would go straight over to the side of the stage to grab his next correctly tuned guitar so he didn’t waste time on stage tuning the same guitar. His next song was my personal highlight as he performed his own version of ‘Feeling Good’ to the backing track of ‘I see Fire’ he then performed The Hobbit soundtrack after. It was very clever and amazing to hear his version as it really brought the best out of his fantastic vocals.
Ed then performed his classic ‘Photograph’. After this he kept the tempo slow and performed his best love song of his new album ‘Perfect’. During this song screams could be heard from a section of the crowd, which turned out to be a couple getting engaged. Ed shouted them out and thanked them for the memories and the special moment they were giving him.
Ed went on to sing his next Irish inspired tune ‘Nancy Mulligan’ a song about his grandparents. After this he performed what is probably his most recognisable tune ‘Thinking Out Loud’, this is where we saw the second proposal of the night. Then came the unofficial last song of the night ‘Sing’ where the crowd sang “Sing, oh oh, oh oh, louder, oh oh, sing, oh oh” for what felt like forever, it was awesome and it is such a great song to hear live and be apart of that atmosphere.
As the night was ending with screams for more in darkness as all the lights had gone out to signify the end. Ed treated us to two more songs. He started with new song ‘Shape of You’ which really got the crowd going as he worked on his loop pedal to create the exciting sounds of the song. He then ended the night with ‘You Need Me I Don’t Need You’, where he treated us to a mixture of his talents at rapping, singing and guitar playing.
This gig was amazing and it gets a full 5 stars from me. Ed genuinely looked happy to be there and you couldn’t wipe the smile from his face as he played for two hours, and it showed in his performance. His talent shined through and he had the energy to match it. He gave it his all and I’m grateful for that. If you get the chance to see Ed Sheeran live you have to take it as he is a born performer and a legendary talent. And those who are attending Glastonbury this year are in for a real treat. And if Ed Sheeran becomes the new face of British festivals over the course of his career, well I’m okay with that.