“My name is Ed, my job is to entertain you, you’re job is to be entertained. My goal is for you to leave this gig with no voice.” This is how Ed Sheeran, greeted the sold out O2 arena on his last gig in London. Standing alone on stage with just his acoustic guitar, two microphones, and a loop-pedal system that allowed him to layer his voice and guitar beats, the goal was easily accomplished.
About 20,000 fans seemed as eager to accomplish the goal Sheeran set. Singing throughout all the songs and screaming in between, it barely gave him the opportunity to speak to the crowd, which he didn’t seem to mind. Dressed in a flannel button down shirt, jeans and converse it’s not hard to see the same Sheeran who was busking on the street just 5 short years ago.
Sheeran played a 90 minute set drawing songs from his highly successful debut and sophomore album. He kicked off the night with “Mess” before going into fan favorite “Lego House”. You can clearly see the busking influence on the star, but he now he adds hip-hop, and R&B influences on his tracks. Sheeran kept the audience on their toes by mixing in covers with his songs. With his number one hit rumored to be about Ellie Goulding titled “Don’t” he added Blackstreets “No Diggity” and Chris Brown’s “Loyal”. Before playing “Runaway” he added the Backstreet Boys “Everybody” making the concert more than just an Ed Sheeran show.
Sheeran laid back attitude about playing 4 sold out nights at the O2 is what made the concert so intimate. It certainly helped that he still refuses to have a full band play behind him, and instead creates all the music on his own. There isn’t much of a difference between seeing Sheeran play a 100 person gig or a 20,000 person gig. There was no special gimmicks, just images that changed behind him as the songs changed. His confidence seemed unnerved yet thankful for the opportunities he experienced.
To pick one highlight of the night would be difficult but anytime Sheeran went into one of his ballads the crowd simmered down and listen to him open up his heart. “Thinking Out Loud”, Sheeran’s newest number one hit unquestionably got the biggest applause at the end of the evening. It was the only time Sheeran played an electric guitar, almost giving a hint to what could be to come in his next album.
Sheeran closed out the night with three of his most popular songs. “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”, the first of his songs to reach radio, “The A Team”, which gave him the opportunity to break into the States and finally “Sing” which includes Sheeran’s biggest collaboration, Pharrell. “I don’t want you to stop singing even after I leave the stage” Sheeran shouts leading the crowd through one more round of the chorus before quietly disappearing from the stage. The crowd still sings for a few seconds after before simmering down and ending the night. It’s easy to tell that Sheeran is a unique talent. There is nobody out there doing what Sheeran is doing and because of that Sheeran is on his way to global superstardom.