WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHERE: The O2
SETLIST: Castle On The Hill; Eraser; The A Team; Don’t/New Man; Dive; Bloodstream; Happier; Galway Girl; How Would You Feel (Paen); I’m A Mess; Photograph; Perfect; Nancy Mulligan; Thinking Out Loud; Sing; Shape Of You; You Need Me, I Don’t Need You
How many of us can say that we’ve received a marriage proposal during an Ed Sheeran gig?
- Read on for reasons including our hopes for Ed’s Glastonbury headliner set
We ask because there was a flurry of flashing mobile phones during Thinking Out Loud – at least one of which was spotted and remarked upon by Sheeran – during this gig.
And also because it happened to us at this very venue two-and-a-half years ago.
A night with Sheeran is very much in demand, as this conclusion to a run of three consecutive nights at this venue and his Sunday headline spot at this year’s Glastonbury testifies.
However, critics point to the middle-of-the-road aspirations of much of his material which has seen it dominate the singles charts since the release of album ÷ earlier this year and the regrettable emphasis on streaming.
We assumed ÷‘s deployment of a live band might signal a rounding out of Sheeran’s gig sound but the trusty one-man-band nature of his performance remains as it did when we first saw him at Lovebox in 2011 sharing a bill with Example, Metronomy and Beardyman in what was our gig of that year.
Lyrically ÷ could have been so much more ambitious: Brexit and Trump spring to mind as divisive topics but instead Sheeran is content to wallow in love and nostalgia. We’re big fans of the Irish influences of new material Galway Girl and Nancy Mulligan but Perfect is just a little too knowing in its cap doffing to the buttons pressed by Thinking Out Loud.
We’re hopeful for Sunday’s Glastonbury closing headline set and would wish for something a little more – an extra special guest, a surprise cover? – than tonight’s perfectly-formed and performed but, whisper it, unambitious, gig proposal.