Concert Review: Ed Sheeran

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Written by Olympia Zampathas

Photos by Brenna Cruz


For a Tuesday evening concert and over an hour and a half before the opening act is scheduled to begin, lines on multiple floors wrapping around the SAP Center arena in San Jose are jam-packed with excited fans, mothers, and boyfriends waiting to be let inside to see the British musician that is Ed Sheeran.

Sheeran, whose new album “X” has been topping the charts in the United Kingdom and United States, and who won a VMA for Best Male Video for his song “Sing” last week, played to thousands Tuesday, August 26. Inside, the excited crowded were funneled into various sections of the performance center as they awaited the opening act, Rudimental.

While not a big name in the United States, the band brings the energy and enthusiasm characteristic of major rockstars with high fives and grooving to their own music. The band, who won both the Brit Award and Mobo Award for best album in 2013, features two lead vocalists, a trumpet player, killer drummer, and guitar player, with unique and energetic style that flavored their set.

The band exits the stage with an emotional sing-a-long, engaging band and audience alike and paving the way for the main act. As a silhouette emerges from the back center stage, the crowd explodes into a screaming fest and my eardrums are shot.

Despite the crowd flocking to see him, and his recent VMA win, Sheeran is nothing but humble, praising his opening act and describing it as an honor to follow them.

As his performance begins, the crowd surges forward to pack the standing room-only portion of the arena.

Save for the guitar hung on his shoulder, a microphone and Looper pedal front and center, Ed stands alone on the stage. He starts out with an upbeat melody on his guitar and lets the instrument fall to his side, but the sound continues from the Looper. He begins to belt out “I’m a Mess” off of his most recent album, “X,” the crowd echoing him, word for word.

His dynamic performance a mix of live-recorded vocals and guitar, rapping, bits of beat-boxing, taking pictures of the audience with his phone and a bulky, cartoon-esque Polaroid-like camera he purchased in Japan, and the fast paced singing he is known for continues for the next hour and a half. The musician/songwriter plays “I See Fire,” featured in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” as fiery visuals are shown behind him before he abruptly exits the stage at the end of his set.

Desperate for more, fans chant, scream, and clap until he reappears on the stage for a 15-minute rendition of “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” He performs a four-song long encore, ending with a radio-favorite, “Sing.” He leaves audience members with the message to never stop singing, wherever they are, wherever they go. As people filter out of the arena, a wave of appreciation for the talent I witnessed comes over me and I head to the car completely content, happy, and a little hoarse.