Ed Sheeran playing here in the Twin Cities isn’t a particularly uncommon occurrence, but that didn’t stop fans of all ages from flooding the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul last night. Sheeran is currently on a North American tour with his pal James Blunt. Those two are a duo to be reckoned with, and they proved it with some powerful, talented, and charismatic performances to us Midwesterners.
As people began to file into the XCel Energy Center, it didn’t take long for me to notice that this was one of the most diverse crowds I had been a part of in quite a while, and not just because the crowd itself was massive. There were mothers with daughters, couples both young and old, and the occasional solo lady, such as myself. I grabbed myself a drink (there were some happy hour specials!) and got settled into the venue. The floor space was packed and seemed to be sold out. There were a few huge signs that read something along the lines of “OMG WE LOVE YOU,” but my personal favorite just said “ED” in huge blue letters. I could hear murmurs of the people around me talking about how they had a hotel room for the night and had traveled to the Twin Cities from Wisconsin just for this show. There was an air of excitement and anticipation in the giant room when James Blunt hit the stage.
James Blunt, of 2004 “You’re Beautiful” fame, was the opener for the evening. He and his band played a decent sized setlist of quite a few songs that I was surprised to find myself singing along to. How many James Blunt songs do you know? I’ll bet the answer is more than you realize. Blunt was gracious towards the crowd and his talent and charisma carried the show quickly and enjoyably to his time to leave the stage. The crowd roared with applause for him but also pretty quickly began to chant for Ed to come on out.
After many cheers from the crowd, drink refills for tired dads, and “when is he coming”s from their kids the man of the evening, Mr. Ed Sheeran, finally entered the stage. With an acoustic guitar in hand he greeted the roaring audience and started his set with “Castle on the Hill.” As his set went on, he chatted even more and more with the crowd. “Every time you play this place,” he mused, “they give you a hockey puck!” As Ed played more and more of his radio hits, I found myself getting so into the show (and so enamored with his accent and good looks,) that I almost forgot I had to remember it the next day to write about! There were THREE proposals (they all said yes,) tears of joy shed by many, and an adorable little boy who was front and center and was clearly living his best life. After his fifteen song set he left the stage and the entire audience immediately yelled for an encore which, of course, ended up happening. The final songs of the night were “Shape of You” and “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” which left everybody happily swaying back and forth and singing along.
As I slowly shuffled my way out with the rest of the Ed Heads (do Ed Sheeran fans call themselves that? They totally should.) I spotted multiple happy faces with mascara running down them, kids begging their parents for a t-shirt or one more soda and more than anything, tons of couples that were completely enamored with each other and Ed Sheeran. Like I said earlier, it’s not uncommon for Ed Sheeran to play in the Twin Cities, and next time I’ll be front and center ready to witness even more proposals.