Ed Sheeran Gives Fans the Ultimate Concert Experience


Mary McAvoy

Ed Sheeran Sings to an Animated Crowd during his North American Tour.

In the entertainment world, there is nothing worse than a boring performer. No one wants to buy concert tickets only to encounter an experience that they could have by listening to live CDs at home. What makes a concert memorable and enjoyable is the musician’s interaction with their audience, and twenty-one year old British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran never fails to keep things interesting. His 2012 North American tour— which sold out shortly after announced— features his clever lyrics, acoustic and hip-hop beats, unbelievable vocals, and uncanny ability to interact with an entire stadium of fans. Despite the slow tempo of the majority of his songs, Ed manages to give the audience what one would consider the classic concert experience, which ends in smiles, loss of voice, and muffled hearing.


On September 19, the full crowd at the House of Blues in Boston was greeted by the first act, Belgian songwriter Selah Sue. The twenty-three year old seems small until she sings – her slightly raspy, soulful voice fills the venue as she somehow seems to give off a rock vibe with her acoustic guitar. She especially excites the crowd while singing “Ragamuffin” and “Fyah Fyah.”
The second opening act is Mike Rosenberg, better known by his stage name Passenger. He showcases his acoustic-folk style when singing the single “Let Her Go” from his fifth album All the Little Lights. Later, he asks the audience to be as quiet as possible for his cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.” These lighter performances contrast with the brutally honest and funny lyrics of “I Hate,” where Passenger complains of how he hates “racist folks telling tasteless jokes” and “pointless status updates on Facebook.” He teaches his audience the chorus to this song as well as “Holes,” encouraging them to sing along. By the time Passenger leaves the stage, half the audience has fallen in love with him.
At 9:00, Ed Sheeran enters the stage to roaring applause from the crowd. The first song he performs is “Give Me Love,” a down-tempo acoustic driven by slow handclaps that explodes into a falsetto at the chorus. He teaches the audience two different harmonies to sing at the end of the song, contrasting with the melody he sings. After the opener, he proceeds to play more fan-favorite songs, “Drunk,” “U.N.I.,” and “Grade 8” as the audience enthusiastically sings along. For the fourth set, Ed performs “Wayfaring Stranger,” a folk song that he offers as a free single on his website. He asks the audience to be as silent as possible for the music to take its full effect. Perhaps the most spectacular part of the performance is towards the end of the song where he steps away from the microphone and sings a capella. Even without a microphone, his voice reaches every corner of the venue. The next piece is his emotional song “Small Bump.” Ed again has the audience take part by snapping their fingers along to the soft backbeat of the song, and even steps back from the microphone at the end of the song to let the audience carry the chorus. He brings everyone together with the seventh song he performs, “This.” He asks each person in the crowd to put their arm around the person next to them, regardless of whether they know them or not, as they sing along to the love ballad. The eighth set of the night, “Kiss Me,” comes with a backstory. Ed explains how his godfather and godmother had been best friends since they were kids. After a series of failed marriages and losses, the two only became closer and eventually fell in love. He requests that the audience is silent again for the song that he wrote for his godparents. He invites Passenger on stage to sing the ninth song, “Heart’s On Fire,” then plays his last set, “Lego House,” all the while hinting at an encore. He returns to a chanting audience for what is most likely the highlight of the night, “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” The song is closest to hip-hop style out of all the songs that he recorded. The half singing, half rapping verses are extended for a ten minute long version of the normally three to four minute song. One of the most unique aspects of the performance is the use of two microphones – one for vocals, and one for recording and playing back beats. Every separate sound of the song is created live on the stage; a representation of how truly talented he is. He slows things down after blasting everyone’s eardrums with “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Irish folksong of farewell. Ed’s final performance of his most popular song, “The A Team,” leaves the audience with chills.
Seeing Ed Sheeran’s North American tour proves to be ten times better than listening to his fantastic album, “+.” Not only were both the opening acts and the main act entertaining and a showcase of real talent, the audience felt as though they were a part of the performance of each song. All fans of Ed Sheeran should see him in concert, as he somehow manages to make every moment memorable.