Ed Sheeran has no band, no back-up singers or dancers, nothing but a guitar, a loop pedal machine and his talent. He played to a sold out Amalie Arena of 15,000 and this is a small crowd compared to some of the shows he’s been playing. He sold out 3 nights at Wembley Arena at 80,000 people a night. He is the biggest musical act in the world at the moment.
Sheeran came out in a black t-shirt and khaki shorts. There is nothing pretentious about him. He told the crowd to”have fun and sing along”. He opened with “I’m A Mess”. The audience immediately began singing along. The crowd was a demographic mix of teenagers, twenty and thirtysomething couples and some Woodstock elders who appreciate Sheeran’s stripped down style reminiscent of Young or Taylor. But Sheeran is a contemporary singer-songwriter from his own generation. Hip-hop, rapping and pop acoustic all part of his musical sound clearly the influence of his age of 24.
This show was not just non-stop music. The graphics on the big screen behind Ed were a show within the show. Creative and constantly changing, it is all part of the concert experience. Playing for almost 2 hours including his hits “Thinking Out Loud” and “The A-Team” . The show ended with everyone singing along to the hit “Sing” with the arena lit up with cell phone lights. Sheeran simply left the stage and left the audience wanting more. It will be interesting to see where Ed Sheeran’s talent will take his music ten years from now. He is one of this generation’s true talents.
Opening acts were Jamie Lawson recently signed to Sheeran’s new Gingerbread Man Records and Christina Perri who had a hit with “Jar of Hearts” in 2010 and has a new album. She came out and dueted with Ed on “Be My Forever” recorded with Sheeran last year. A good choice for an opener.
All photos by Vicky Sullivan, Rock the Lens Photography for The Sarasota Post