The Mancunion

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Live: Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is even better live than on record


28th October

Phones 4U Arena


Saint Raymond’s stage presence feels assured and confident, sounding a little like Ben Howard with a few more guitars; it’s no surprise he sits well with Ed Sheeran fans. His music is indie-pop, dancy and synthesised; the Top 40 can only be a matter of months away.

Warmed up and ready for the main event, Ed Sheeran leisurely strolls on stage to a sold out arena. He wastes no time in proving his worth; there’s no band, no eccentric stage design, no startling lights, no bullshit. Armed with his guitar and a loop pedal, the gig just seems like another day in the office for him.

Unfazed by the twenty thousand fans, he launches straight into ‘I’m A Mess,’ the crowd lapping it up in enjoyment. Going through some older material from his first album, including ‘Lego House’ ‘A-Team’ and ‘Drunk’ his setlist ticks off every song you’d expect to see live.

He exercises his superb vocal capability in a diverse range of songs; most notably Ed draws on his rap influences on ‘Take It Back’ and an extended version of ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ spitting lyrics and beat-boxing his way to the hearts of his admirers. Admirers from Wayne Rooney to Wretch 32 to 12-year old screaming fan-girls; it’s inspiring to see how his music spans across such a varied demographic.

Ed exposes some vulnerability in his slower material; ‘Tenerife Sea,’ and ‘Thinking Out Loud’ highlight his tender, textured vocals, his guitar is near-enough mesmerising.

In stark contrast, ‘Bloodstream’ is representative of his set: guitar melodies, stomping percussion, and exquisite vocals are layered and looped upon each other; the gradual energy building to intense and frantic climax.

He is even better live than on record, creating songs quite literally from scratch; he is an unbelievable talent. It’s difficult not to like such an amicable and seemingly humble character when his music is so powerful, he has every right to be as brash and as snobbish as he can but Ed Sheeran is a magnificently modest little ginger man.