The last time I had the opportunity to see Ed Sheeran was in 2013 during his first U.S headlining tour, and I was immediately impressed with his ability to capture an audience with nothing more than a guitar and a loop pedal. Now fast forward to last night, where there English singer-songwriter preformed to a SOLD OUT 50,000 capacity U.S Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as part of his Divide North American stadium tour. I was excited to have the chance to see how his new stage show would stack up in front of an even larger audience.
There was a heavy anticipation for this show, as the Minneapolis date was announced over a year ago in September 2017 and tickets sold out long before the show date. There was definitely a hunger for Ed’s comeback, as fans were lined up around the arena hours before showtime.
As the doors began to open, fans packed a sold out U.S Bank Stadium to see their beloved ginger haired artist. The night opened up with Lauv, an up and coming singer-songwriter from the U.S who is rapidly breaking out into the pop scene. He played his most famous song, “I Like Me Better”, as well as “Paris in the Rain”, “Breathe” and “The Other.” The audience seemed to enjoy Lauv, as he treated fans to a set full of dancing and fun beats.
The main support slot belonged to Northern Irish rock band Snow Patrol. Snow Patrol first formed in 1994 and can definitely be considered veterans of the pop and alternative rock scene. I was interested to see what they had in store, since over the years they have captured a worldwide audience and boasted heavy radio play. During their set, they played a decent mix of older and newer songs, including “Open Your Eyes, “Run” and “Empress.” Overall, the band had a great stage presence. The last song they played was their well known 2006 single “Chasing Cars”. As the first notes of the song began to play, everyone in the audience stood on their feet and pulled out their cell phones to create a sea of bright white lights against the dark background of the stadium. The flashlights danced around in the air like falling snowflakes in the night sky. It was the perfect, feel good way to end their set.
After Snow Patrol left the stage, it was time for the man of the hour. The guy everyone had been waiting for — Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran started his music career when he was just 14 years old, busking on the streets of London and playing in bars with sometimes two people at most in the room. Now he is playing sold out stadium shows all across the world.
As the lights began to dim, there was a deafening roar that thundered through the stadium. The fans were ready. Sure enough, Ed Sheeran came running hot out of the gate and started the night off with his hit song “Castle on the Hill.” Sheeran wasted no time getting the audience on their feet and dancing. He fiercely strummed his guitar and belted out the lyrics as the crowd loudly sang along. After “Castle on the Hill”, Sheeran went right into the opening fast track on his latest album, “Eraser.” This was one of the best songs of the night, as it featured Sheeran rapping and spitting fast lyrics while tracking the harmonies and guitar parts on his loop pedal.
After “Eraser”, he played the arguably most popular song off his debut album +, “The A-Team.” It was really nice to hear Sheeran play one of his older songs in the steady rotation of new hits. The song was warm, and familiar as many fans sang the lyrics as Sheeran softly strummed his guitar. Next on the set included the songs “Bloodstream”, “Happier”, “Tenerife Sea” and “Galway Girl.” Sheeran took a break from the screaming and loud strumming and quieted things down during “Tenerife Sea.” “I know I asked you to lose your voices and sing loud…” Sheeran said, “but for this song I’m going to ask you to be perfectly quiet.” The audience honored his request, and watched in a silent awe as Sheeran sweetly sang with a smile on his face.
One of the most charming parts of the night was Sheeran’s humor and humility. Halfway through the set he mentioned, “Usually I get about 98% participation at my shows. And I can tell you exactly who the 2% are that don’t participate. 1. The boyfriend that doesn’t really want to be here and 2. The super dad that’s here with his kids. So I know you may not like my music, which is fine, but I want you to know one thing.” Sheeran said, “You’re here making someone you love happy, and I appreciate that.” That being said, Sheeran made it clear that his goal for the night was to make everyone involved and participating by the end of the show — even the boyfriend’s and super dad’s.
Sheeran continued his banter before playing his enormously popular hit 2014 “Thinking Out Loud” by saying, “You may think I’m a good dancer because you’ve seen the Thinking Out Loud Music video. But just go and watch it again. You’ll see that I can’t actually dance.” The audience laughed as Sheeran joked. Before playing the song, he also said, “If you don’t know the words to this song, you’re at the wrong show.” The audience was of course delighted to hear this song as arms were in the air as people danced and swayed. Sheeran then played a couple more of his softer songs, including “Photograph”, “Perfect”, and took a break with “Nancy Mulligan.” He ended the main set with “Sing”, which was accompanied by bright, colorful lights and confetti on the back of the stage. As Sheeran ended his main set, the cheering between the walls of U.S Bank Stadium was deafening.
For the encore, Sheeran came back on stage sporting an Adam Thielen Vikings jersey and the crowd went nuts seeing one of their favorite artists paying homage to the home team. He started his encore with radio monster, “Shape of You” and then went into “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” This song went hard and heavy, as Sheeran had just about every effect on his loop pedal playing at full volume. This song featured some of Sheeran’s hip hop/rapping skills and was the perfect way to end the night.
Overall, it’s really hard not to fall in love with Ed Sheeran during one of his live shows. He is a very genuine, humble person and that authenticity shines through in his stage persona. While he is one of Spotify’s most listened to artists and selling out stadiums and arenas all across the world, he still comes across as a person you could sit down and have a pint of beer with. With Ed Sheeran, what you see is what you get. He comes out on the stage wearing nothing more than a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. He has nothing fancy to offer. Just his voice, a guitar, and a loop pedal.
After first seeing Sheeran in a smaller venue five years ago, I was a bit concerned as to how this show would fair in comparison. However, last night’s show at U.S Bank Stadium made it easy to see why he is continuously exploding in popularity among fans of all ages and selling out arenas. When his career is done, he will likely go down as one of the most unique and influential singer-songwriters of the 2000’s.