By Wal Reid
Artist: Ed Sheeran
Date / Venue: Saturday December 12th, 2015 - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
We get a new flag and bloody Ed Sheeran turns up sporting Jonah Lomu's number 11 jersey. This is one conspiracy theory no one could've picked, some might even say John Key had a hand in it.
Sheeran can do no wrong, just ask the throngs of Ed devotees converged onto the packed Mt Smart Stadium. Always a hit, Ed mania is everywhere, on the radio, on our new five dollar notes his catchy songs etched in our minds, truly annoying.
To say the guy is a dab hand at guitar and writing songs is an understatement, I'm A Mess & Lego House were a wonderful introduction as his trademark red locks & visage amplified on the giant screens flanking the sides of the stage. "Auckland I have so much love for you" he muttered solidifying the Ed Sheeran-NZ love affair. At his recent performance in Winnipeg, Sheeran earned his first negative concert feedback recalling "The crowd thought I was using backing tracks".
Revealing his array of loop effects pedals on the giant screen, the self-confessed Kiwi-phile showed off his rap skills, Take It Back & You Need Me I Don't Need You with its recognisable "I'm up and coming like I'm fucking in an elevator" he bantered & sung his way into the humid Auckland night dwarfed by the behemoth video screens.
The hush across the stadium for Thinking Out Loud was deafening, the sight of cell phones illuminating the night sky cheesy, but appropriate. Its effect likened to Hogmanay, you just wanted to pash the nearest person to you. Not afraid to mix it up a bit, Sheeran at one point paused before musing "This one isn't on the set list" playing twee radio hit Small Bump to the delight of the audience.
Current radio darling Lay It All On Me or mega-hit Runaway were noticeably absent but that didn't matter. The Rudimental hit Bloodstream, I See Fire & hit song A Team ignited the audience as he motioned to the crowd "Technically this is the last song", of course an encore ensued with a last crowd sing along to Sing to end the night. We need ambassadors like Sheeran to truly appreciate what we have here in this country - Sheeran came, he saw and like our ‘Ed' ‘he knocked the bastard off'.