On Thursday night, Ed Sheeran played a sold out show to thousands of fans at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. It was the biggest headlining show he has played in Toronto since he started touring the city. I’ve seen him every time he has been here and still, this man never ceases to amaze me. From his ability to get crowds (small or large) to co-operate with him, to the way he loops his voice and guitar for background vocals and harmonies right before your eyes – it is so incredible to watch.
English band, Rudimental performed as Sheeran’s opening act. I personally had never heard of them before but it seemed as though the the majority of the crowd knew them and were diggin’ them. They did a great job warming up the crowd in preparation for Ed!
When it was time for Ed, the lights went out, the crowd went nuts, and he just walked on stage and started playing. No dragged out introduction needed! Opening with “I’m a Mess,” and moving into older songs such as “Lego House” and “Drunk,” the crowd of people in the ACC were singing so loud that it was just as powerful as Ed’s voice.
One of the things I love about Ed Sheeran is the simplicity of his performances. There are no background dancers, no choreographed dance moves, no costumes, no background bands or vocalists – just him and his guitar. He does all of his background vocals right there in front of you and plays it back using a loop pedal. He does the same type of thing if he needs separate melodies and harmonies from his guitar. It’s so cool to watch and unlike anything I’ve ever seen any other artist do before.
In the middle of the set, Ed had reached the part of the show where he left the setlist blank. He told the crowd he leaves it blank so that he can sing whatever he wants, giving him the chance to sing songs that he doesn’t usually get to perform. For the Toronto set, he chose to sing “Kiss Me,” an old favourite of mine and “Nina,” which is actually on his most recent album X. He encouraged the crowd to sing as loud as possible if they knew the words. Despite how loud the crowd sang these songs, Ed changed the mood asking the crowd to “chill out” for his next song, “Afire Love” because it is the most personal song on his record. I think Ed is the only person who could successfully bring a crowd of 20,000 people to complete silence. Incredible!
Nearing the end of his performance, Ed sang “Thinking Out Loud,” “Give Me Love” and “I See Fire.” “Give Me Love” is definitely a fan favourite and one of my personal favourites so see him sing live. Ed is notorious for getting the crowd involved in his performances and this is exactly what he does in this song. Splitting the crowd into two parts – the higher harmony and the lower harmony – Ed finished the song singing only with the audience and no other background music.
The night was full of old hits, new hits and a couple of covers including “No Diggity,” and “Backstreet’s Back.” During the encore, Ed finished off the night with “Grade 8,” “The A Team” and “Sing.” At the end of “Sing,” Ed had the crowd singing the chorus to sing him off stage. Even when he was gone, the crowd kept singing until the lights in the arena came back on. The whole night was an unreal experience. Ed Sheeran is such a talent, and I strongly recommend you go see him if you haven’t already!
In the mean time, check out this performance of “Give Me Love” from the show:
Were you at the show on Thursday night? Tweet us @BestFan and tell us about your experience!
(Photo by Jennifer Lavergne)