Ed Sheeran is the type of act that comes along once every twenty years. A stripped-back style, a genuine and utterly beguiling disregard for anyone’s opinions on him and a masterful song writing talent all combine to create one of the most sensational artists of the 21st century. I realise that several of you will curse me right now and say I don’t know music but I’m taking Ed’s approach and asserting an opinion here – chill out.
Sheeran’s career is staunchly rooted in live performance, as he gigged around the UK for years before finding chart success. His latest tour brought him to Belfast in early January 2013.
The packed arena consisted of a healthy mix of young and old(er). On a personal note, it felt like Sheeran was playing to a tough crowd. Standing at a concert is always a perilous decision – you risk a beer shower, trampled toes and being squashed to someone who is apparently unfamiliar with soap. However, one can’t help but feel that Belfast showed its ugly side during this concert. From where I was standing, the crowd seemed totally disinterested in Sheeran’s talent, preferring to chat up whoever was beside them, or hurl abuse at the man on stage. (FYI, we all know he’s ginger. Relax.) At one point, Sheeran talked about being of Irish descent and asked the crowd for some hush whilst he played a beautiful version of ‘The Parting Glass.’ Instead of hush, he got foul-mouthed requests for other songs from his album. I could barely hear the song, my personal favourite – and concerts are LOUD.
Belfast’s lack of manners aside, Ed Sheeran was captivating. His rendition of songs from “ ” were flawless, but not to the point of blandness. His performance of Nina Simone’s ‘Be My Husband’ was surely the high point of the night, as he had different sections of the arena working with him to create an electrifying three-part harmony. The man could make a cup sing. Opening with ‘Give Me Love,’ he didn’t set a foot wrong for the rest of the night, featuring cult favourites like ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ and more well-known tracks like ‘Drunk.’ If only he had been afforded the courtesy that any artist deserves, this concert would have been outstanding. So if you’re thinking of going to a concert and just planning to act like a gillipe for 90 minutes – please don’t bother, you ruin it for us all.