Ed Sheeran- The Divide World Tour

It’s a warm Saturday evening at ANZ stadium, Sydney Olympic Park. 83,000 fans await patiently. At precisely 8:45, it begins.

Ed Sheeran walks out from a tunnel, across the front of the screaming crowd and on to the stage. He readies his small guitar and begins to make music on his loop pedal. He begins with Castle on the Hill and the crowd goes wild. I know in this moment that tonight won’t disappoint. Images flash on the five screens behind Sheeran and the spectacular light show begins.

The ÷ tour is Sheeran’s third world tour and his second tour of Australia performing at stadiums. Following the success of his album released a year ago which has just reached Diamond certification in Australia, it really is no surprise that Sheeran has become the most popular music tour of all time in Australia. This record was previously held by Dire Straits (950,000 tickets in1986) but with over a million ticket sales, Sheeran tops that record. Between Australia and New Zealand, he will perform 18 shows, the most amount of Stadium shows performed in the one tour, surpassing ACDC’s record of 14. It really is clear that Australia can’t get enough of Ed Sheeran.

[caption id="attachment_480" align="alignnone" width="720"]Ed Sheeran Divide Castle on the hill.jpg Ed Sheeran peforming "Castle on the Hill". Photo: Aimee Dechellis[/caption]

Although it’s just him on the stage with no accompanying musicians or backup singers, the atmosphere is big and Sheeran puts on a massive show. After Castle on the Hill he welcomes the crowd who respond by cheering very loudly. But before he continues he tells the crowd about his loop station, which has the capability to create many different beats and sounds at the one time. He does this because in the past he has been victim to accusations of lip synching or performing to a backing track. As someone who has seen Ed Sheeran perform 3 times, I can definitely say that this is not true. He has made slight blunders and takes at least a minute before he gets into each song to set up the different beats he needs. His one-man show is creative and impeccable. He doesn’t need any gimmicks to sell his music.

He then continues onto album opener Eraser, demonstrating his rapping ability. He then slows things down with his first major Australian hit The A Team where he tells the crowd about performing it in front of 70 people in Australia in 2011. How far he has come since then. In true Sheeran styles, because he loves his mash-ups, he keeps the crowd in anticipation with a long introduction while he sets up the loop pedal before mixing Don’t and New Man to create one epic singalong.

After performing Dive, Sheeran engages with the crowd and shows off his sense of humour, something he does superbly. Sheeran mentions that when he goes to concerts, he’s the guy that stands awkwardly in the crowd and doesn’t dance. But he urges the crowd to all get up and help him with the next song, particularly calling out the boyfriends and dad’s who have been unwillingly dragged along. He does this because for his smash single Bloodstream, he wants the crowd to join in when the beat drops. For the most part, from what I could see, everybody joined in and it was magical. I think that encouraging the audience to join in really adds to the whole atmosphere of the concert and makes it even more enjoyable. The lighting, as always was spectacular and really elevated the vibe.

Sheeran then played ballad Happier, which although being a break up song, several couples in the audience slow danced to. He then performed I’m a Mess followed by his classic Lego House.

The disposition lifted further when, being St Patrick’s Day, Ed sang his Irish inspired hit Galway Girl which brought out everybody’s inner Irish Jig. It was a blast.

To calm the mood down a bit, and to tease us a bit, Ed began playing the riff for I See Fire but decided to tempt us first by singing a rendition of Feelin’ Good. When he eventually gets to I See Fire, made famous in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the crowd cheered wildly. A majority of the crowd took out their phones and lit up the stadium with their lights. It was spectacular. Ed handed the audience the reigns toward the end of the song, as we all sang the chorus.

Ed Sheeran Divide audience.jpg

The slow pace remained as Ed performed Photograph and his latest love song Perfect. It has been speculated that there has been at least one proposal every show during Perfect. On Saturday night, there was at least 2 up in the stands. Sheeran has created the most romantic song of the year and I don’t doubt that many couple will use this as their first dance. Sheeran serenaded the crowd with this song and made every single woman feel like he was singing the song to them. It was so beautiful and very stripped back compared to most other songs he performed.

He cut the beauty of the track that is Perfect by bursting into another Irish inspired track, and the story of his grandparents, Nancy Mulligan. Again the audience brought out their Irish Jig and seemed to enjoy this song more than others. Afterwards, Sheeran performs Thinking Out Loud, another romantic track off his album X.

Sheeran then announces that his last song of the night is Sing. The light show is superb and Sheeran brings the audience in with the catchy chorus and a big finale. He says goodbye and leaves the stage.

[caption id="attachment_482" align="alignnone" width="720"]Ed Sheeran Divide 2.jpg Photo: Aimee Dechellis[/caption]

“Encore! Encore!” The audience is desperate for an encore performance. He hasn’t even performed Shape of You Yet. It surely can’t end yet.

Ed Sheeran walks back out onto the stage, picks up the guitar and delves into the infectious track Shape of You, giving the audience want they want. The crowd goes wild and dance along. The final song for the night is his rap track from +, You Need Me, I Don’t Need You. Sheeran bursts into the rap, nailing every word. Meanwhile he’s saved the best lights for last. Strobe lights of different colours go off, the lights themselves move and the screen behind him flashes with different images at an insane rate. He performs the extended version which includes an extra verse, giving the crowd something more to cheer about. The intensity crescendos and Sheeran keeps giving. The song ends and the crowd cheers. Ed Sheeran says goodbye for good this time and walks off the stage.

The concert is over but the buzz in the air remains. What we had just witnessed was something of pure brilliance and perfection. Sheeran’s performance was polished and professional. It’s not hard to see why people all over the world adore him. He’s talented, funny, loves to interact with the crowd (something I think is vital when performing at a concert) and feeds off the vibe of the crowd. The louder the crowd is, the more Sheeran gives and the more he gives the more excited the crowd becomes.

I felt like this tour really stepped up from X. Yes X was fantastic and showcased Sheeran as an artist, but the concert tonight was even better. The effects were better. The lighting was more insane. The songs were filled with anticipation and there were a lot more moments allowed for the crowd to join in. As Sheeran’s star rises and he becomes even bigger, his concerts will too. Although he has already performed at Sydney’s largest stadium so there’s not a whole lot of room left for him to grow.

1 in 23 Australians have or are going to witness this incredible artist. With the ticket frenzy that was, I count my stars that I was fortunate enough to go. I knew Ed Sheeran wouldn’t disappoint and he gave us a performance of a lifetime.

[caption id="attachment_483" align="alignnone" width="719"]Ed Sheeran divide 3.jpg Photo: Aimee Dechellis[/caption]

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