Concert Review with PHOTOS: Ed Sheeran

Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

By Rhiannon Lloyd

Artist: Ed Sheeran

Date / Venue: Saturday March 24th, 2018 - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

Ed Sheeran kicked off his New Zealand tour in Mt Smart Stadium last night to an excited and packed audience adorned in various multi-colour ponchos. Although we suffered through a bit of rain here and there, no one seemed to mind, instead opting to dance and sing pretty much continuously throughout the full two hour set. Sheeran encouraged the audience to ‘do crazy’ and I think, from where I was sitting, they did a pretty decent job of it.

After two high energy support acts (LOST BiRD and Drax Project) Ed Sheeran casually walked on stage before jumping straight into Castle On The Hill. Out of all Ed Sheeran’s melodic guitar anthems, this one is by far my favourite as it riles some significant nostalgia for me, being a country girl from England and all that. This also made me nervous – now my favourite song was over, what’s next?

I shouldn’t have worried. Eraser and A Team followed with some strong sing-along work from the crowd. By mid-set Sheeran’s vocals were at the top of their game and he busted out a couple of his popular slower love ballads. Happier was sung with real emotion and showed off an impressive vocal range. Similarly, Tenerife Sea triggered thousands of dancing phone lights which swayed to the melody. After each of these slower songs, the setlist bounced the crowd back into dance mode with an up-tempo beat and some heavy bass.

The concert left me with an admiration for Sheeran’s clear and unequivocal talent as a musician and guitarist. There can’t be many other performers in the world who are able to get so much from a guitar whilst singing without missing a beat. In other words, he is the most talented one-man-band I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Occasionally there were backing vocals or instrumentals that came from elsewhere (for example, in Galway Girl you could hear a fiddle which Sheeran clearly wasn’t playing) but for the most part, every sound was made by him and his guitar. This is pretty amazing when you consider the range and complexity of the songs and the vocals.

For the encore he, and the entire audience, launched into Shape Of You, before an epic You Need Me, I Don’t Need You remix took us to the end of the show. It’s always impressive to see a musician entertaining a stadium crowd without the support of a band, and we were not disappointed.