Ed Sheeran Tackles Gillette Stadium

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Story and photos by Paula Araujo

“Ever since I hit the mainstream with ‘The A Team’ I seem to sell a bit,” boasts UK singer-songwriter, Ed Sheeran during the encore to a stadium filled crowd at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on Friday night for the final stop on his tour and largest US show to date.

Sheeran, surely likes to wrap things up with a bang and has never been shy about his ambitions. Early on in his career he wrote lyrics such as, “I won’t stop ’til my name’s in lights at stadium heights with Damien Rice.” With his debut album “+”, he wrapped it up with three sold out dates at Madison Square Garden. This past July, he also played three sold out dates at Wembley Stadium.

Sheeran begins the night with “I’m A Mess” rapidly pouring out all of his emotions into his performance. One of the most captivating aspects of Sheeran’s performance is how he is creating the music right in front of you with the loop station. He uses his guitar and vocals not only for their primary uses, but to help him build the layers of the music which would normally be filled by a band. He mentions this early in the performance as he tells a quick anecdote about a couple recently complaining they wanted their money back because he did not have a backup band. Though there truly is no need for one when you have as much sheer talent as he does.

For the remainder of the evening Sheeran notes,”My job for the next two hours is to entertain you and your job is to be entertained.” The setlist includes both the old and the new such as “Lego House” and “Photograph”, but Sheeran makes sure to keep you on feet as he throws in bits of other popular tunes into the mix such as, “No Diggity,” and “Superstitious.” The setlist certainly displays his versatile and eclectic range.

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Near the end of the show, Sheeran trades in his acoustic guitar for an electric one. Normally, that means things are going to be cranked up a notch, but in this case it is when he slows things down and gets romantic. Preparing to be swept off my feet, as Sheeran is talking and getting adjusted to the new setup, he mentions a special guest. Shrieks fill the stadium as surprise guest, Chris Martin of Coldplay joins him on stage and plays the piano for “Thinking Out Loud.” Followed by that was a Coldplay fan favorite, “Yellow,” which Sheeran noted inspired him to pick up the guitar when he was younger. Before the encore, the last song Sheeran plays is his first mainstream success hit, “The A Team” which the audience sang their heart to and put up their cellphone flashes to create a sea of lights throughout the stadium.

The encore is filled with hyped tunes, “You Need Me I Don’t Need You” and “Sing” which are perfect for the echos and energy of a stadium. His playful charisma and humor are incredibly welcoming and warming throughout the evening. No matter the size of the audience, Sheeran never fails to make it feel like an intimate performance.

Ed Sheeran is a must see performer. Luckily if you missed out on the opportunity to see him perform live, you can catch him at a theater new you soon when his film “Jumpers for Goalposts” hits theaters worldwide in October. Click here for more information.

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