You guys, I saw Ed Sheeran again a few weeks back and I think I’m even more in love. Yeah, you would think that wasn’t possible – I know I didn’t think so either. This was the 7th time I have seen the British singer-songwriter since his 2010 debut (am I officially band-aid status yet?) and WOW. What was neat about this year’s X tour, was Ed finally headlining massive arenas by himself. I remember when I first saw him and there were maybe 20 people in the audience, so it’s amazing to see how far he has came and the success he’s experienced.
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I wasn’t a fan of the intro band, Rudimental. I was the only one of us four who knew of prior songs of theirs. Thanks Radio 1 listening! I had enjoyed the singles played in the UK, but I wondered if it was due to the help of John Newman and I found it was. Rudimental was electro rock and my biggest complaint was they were too aggressive and intense. The bass was much too loud I could barely hear the actual music. I go to plenty of concerts and never once have I felt uncomfortable from the bass level until their set. My advice? Turn down the bass and you’d gain more fans. Selfishly, I wanted to start a hashtag of #BringBackPassenger because he was the perfect company to join Ed on tour. Plus, they had the cutest friendship. Oh well it was over soon enough.
The show lasted almost two hours and Ed performed around 17 songs with a few random bits mixed in here and there. He even snuck in a bit of THE BACKSTREET BOYS! Be still my heart, it was two of my loves colliding. There was a mixture of old favorites and new hits that every fan would leave pleased with the selection. I know everyone in my group had their all time favorite song played so I’d say it’s a win.
Ed choose Minneapolis as the lucky stop to perform “The Man” live for the very first time on tour. He also randomly decided to perform one of my throwback faves in “Kiss Me” – I was very much a happy camper with every song selection.
There is one factor nobody can dispute – Ed holds his own. He performs his entire live set with no backing band. He doesn’t even add in a lot of fancy set designs to keep you occupied. It’s mainly Ed, his series of guitars (which are all aptly named) and his loop pedal. This is an incredible feat for solo acts to accomplish in an arena. Ed is one of a handful of artists that have managed it through time.
Ed creates the backing track by using his aforementioned loop pedal. He uses it by creating layers of sound using his voice whether this be melodies, beatboxing, or just random sounds he can make with his mouth layered with how he can use his guitar – from string plucking to even hitting various parts of his instrument to make a drum like beat. It’s really fucking wicked watching him build the entire rich complex song from nothing in front of your eyes.
Ed always jokes that he’s just a short, chubby ginger, with a lazy eye, who can rap, and plays guitar. That’s how you are supposed to remember who he is if you ever need to google him. Every time he steps on stage he shows he’s much more than that self-appointed title.
Lyrically he’s one of the best wordsmiths out there. He’s known for his clever plays on the English language in his run of the mill songs. But did you know he’s also quite the excellent free verse rapper? Especially when you add in that it comes from such an unexpected source. Crowd favorite “You Need Me I Don’t Need You” ended up being almost 10 minutes long for a single song because of Ed’s additional spun verses. Of course, he didn’t forget the ultimate line of they say I’m up and coming like I’m fucking in an elevator that the entire arena patiently waited for Ed to spit with a massive grin on his face.
If you didn’t notice from my discussion on Ed’s description of himself – one of the things working in his favor is his wit and self condescending humor. It takes his quiet one man stage presence and turns it into an engaging act that really feeds off the audience. It’s what makes him so likable because he does just seem like an average lad living his dream.
My favorite moment of Ed’s recent show was when he set off to sing a beautiful ballad a grown man from the audience yelled “I LOVE YOU ED!” and then Ed continued to say he loved the big fella back and this song was dedicated to him. When other people in the audience started yelling too – Ed mock chastised them that they were taking away this man’s moment he had dreamed of. You can see the whole occurrence in my “Give Me Love” video below.
The audience was a bit different now that he’s toured with Taylor Swift. There’s more young females and screaming, but still has some diversity to it. I was worried because of the crowd age people wouldn’t respect Ed’s wishes of no screaming during music times and quietness during the really emotional songs, but surprisingly even the pre-teens realized it was in their benefit to shh. I do miss that in a massive arena Ed can’t do his standard stand back from the mic, 100% acoustic version of a song, but I guess there’s always trade offs in life.
Every song was done amazing. From the slower songs full of emotion to the faster songs where Ed just went nuts with energy. Each one was a treat to observe and listen and bask in.
The more bass driven tracks unfortunately had a little too much feedback in places due to where I was sitting close to the speakers, so be warned when you listen to them. The slower tracks are both HD sound and video. Remember to watch all videos in 1080p. I also only linked to a handful of tracks here (they are all new songs off X) to see all videos simply go to my YouTube page HERE.
Thinking Out Loud
Ed Sheeran is just a genuinely likable person who is destined for great things. There’s a reason why all the big legends (Elton John, Paul McCartney, and the list goes on) have a soft spot for him. In a world where music integrity is often questioned, Ed proves that there are some quality artists still changing the music game.
I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again, if you ever get the chance to check out Ed live – its a MUST. The way he works the loop pedal and creates his songs from scratch is work checking out alone due to the neat factor.
You know when I get my 8th (why does it have to be so far away? so sad) and all the way to 100th and more chances to see Ed Sheeran I’ll definitely be there and be up front yet again with my tickets bought months in advance. Maybe one of these times my ultimate dream of interviewing him or somehow even finding a way to work amongst his tour crew may even come true. (Hey Ed or Stuart I’m always up for the opportunity! Just saying.)
Is there any artist you see every time they’re in town?
P.S. – I reviewed the time I saw Ed Sheeran as part of the Taylor Swift Red tour.
Until next time,