WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
WHEN: 19/2, on tour until 10/11/18 including 4 gigs at Wembley Stadium this summer
SETLIST: Castle On The Hill; Eraser; The A Team; Don’t; Dive; Bloodstream; Happier; Tenerife Sea; Galway Girl; Feeling Good; How Would You Feel?; Photograph; Perfect; Nancy Mulligan; Thinking Out Loud; Sing; Shape Of You; You Need Me, I Don’t Need You
An unforgettable gig is always about its details rather than its headlines.
- Read on for reasons including the last time Ed played the Indig02
This is one of 10 or so gigs in Brits Week in aid of charity War Child. Before it we meet Oscar from the Congo who tells us he has ‘seen things no child should ever see’ but is now preparing to go to university in the UK after being fostered here thanks to the charity.
Ed Sheeran is also in reflective mood, telling us early on that he last played this 2,800-capacity venue as support for N-Dubz in 2010.
Later he tells how as a 15-year-old roadie for Nizlopi he loitered backstage after a gig here to catch a late-night show by Prince.
His love of music is clear and illuminated by the story of how, as his gigs have become arena-sized, he has lost the ability to see into his audience’s eyes because they are so far away.
It’s adding to his nerves tonight but it also means he can see, up-close-and-personal later, how much they are enjoying it.
Ed’s not played a gig for three months and recently celebrated a birthday: cue audience singing spontaneously Happy Birthday to him.
This two-hour show is essentially the one that we’ve already seen last year at both Glastonbury and at this venue’s larger neighbouring arena (and is the one we suspect he’ll air during a string of Wembley Stadium gigs this summer) but the cause and intimacy of the venue means it’s something extra special for both audience and star.
We love the Irish folk songs on latest album Divide and the crowd reaction is especially raucous where we are for Galway Girl and Nancy Mulligan, including much linking of arms and kicking of legs.
There’s a moving story about his late grandmother to introduce the fine Supermarket Flowers, also from the new record, and remarkably it’s just Ed and his guitar, as it’s been throughout his career, on stage.
The theme of dreams coming true is very much amplified by his support act Mahalia who tells how as a 12-year-old aspiring musician she wanted to meet her hero – and now she is supporting him.
We’re all about the details and this memorable show just multiplied our love for this star.