The British singer returned to Florida with ballads and raps
By Jennifer Glorioso
(September 13, 2015)
(Tampa, FL) On September 8th the seats in Amalie Arena start to fill in with anticipation for the return of singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran. The 24 year old Grammy-nominated and award winning artist performs every live concert with nothing but his guitar, loop pedal, and collection of love songs that is impossible to not sing along to (which is encouraged from Ed, even if you don’t know the words.)
And let’s be honest, who needs a band when you’ve got that much talent and a strong choir filled with thousands of fans on hand to get involved with the harmonies? Not Ed, who not only delivered a two hour spine-tingling performance, but had the whole crowd singing their hearts out from start to finish to make the whole thing just that little bit more unforgettable.
The beauty in Ed’s music live is that he creates all of it right in front of you. He starts most songs with a simple strum recorded into one microphone, plays another riff into a second microphone, loops that, and then repeats the process until he has built a structure to sing over. That being said, there is no need for a fancy stage set up, however, slightly psychedelic tour screens and lighting to match, that sweep through a rainbow of colors and affects. With no pyrotechnics, dancers, back up singers, or a stage that reaches out to the crowd, it’s easy to focus on how Ed makes the music as he moves around the stage, layering the sound on his loop pedal and building up his songs as he goes from ballad to banger.
The only problem with being an Ed Sheeran fan is that he has too many good songs. With that in mind, it’s very hard for him to pick a setlist that satisfies everyone; which means there’s a pretty good chance you might not hear your favorite. Still, in the moment you won’t notice anything is missing as he plays hits off his newest record Multiply, along with classics of his debut album, and covers of mash-ups of other popular songs.
His talent starts to unfold even more after opening up with “I’m A Mess,” “Lego House,” and “Drunk.” He plays “Take It Back” a half rap-half sung number that surprised the crowed when he twisted his song into Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” before settling into Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The setlist flowed after “Photograph,” with “Bloodstream” which had everyone on their feet. Ed then threw in a soul-filled ballad of “Feelin’ Good” with his song “I See Fire,” followed by “Tenerife Sea” and the whole arena swayed and swooned to his beautiful harmonies into in an electric guitar version of his hit “Thinking Out Loud.”
The setlist then took an upbeat turn when he performed his hit “Don’t,” mashed up with “Nina,” another track off his second album. Ed also surprised the crowd when he blended pieces of “Loyal” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” The fan favorite cover brought the crowd into loud screams and brought everyone to their feet.
Being a fan of collaborations, Ed brought out Christina Perri, his opening act, and played a very happy, fun love song “Be My Forever.” He closed the show with his breakthrough hit “The A Team” and watched as Tampa lit the arena with twinkling cell phone lights and had everyone singing the lyrics back to Ed.
Ed then came out for a quick encore and showed off his rapping skills once again as he built “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” into a percussive powerhouse, he dropped in a taste of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” and Drake’s “Know Yourself” and ended the show with “Sing” and left the crowd in chants of “Oh-Oh-Oh-Ooh-Oh.”
There really was no bad part of the show, unless you count the part when you get home and realize that it’s all over. Ed performed every song beautifully with no difficulties; he interacted with the crowd and kept them laughing, singing, and even crying.
With a performance and talent that’s this good, it’s easy to see why everyone is talking about him. It’s safe to say he had the crowd and the rest of the music industry wrapped around his finger. As his North American tour comes to an end later this month, Sheeran plans to take a well-deserved break. When he comes back to tour America, expect to hear songs off a new album in a sold out stadium.
Header image from thedrum.com