Armed with just a guitar and a microphone, England’s beloved ginger, Ed Sheeran, gave a sincere and satisfying two-hour concert on Friday (26 April) comprising some of his famous ballads and upbeat tunes. Serenading a sold-out crowd at the National Stadium, Sheeran proved that you don’t need fancy costumes and elaborate set changes to showcase your talent to the world, or at least to the 51,000 screaming fans that night.
It was his biggest show in Singapore, having previously played at the 5000-capacity Star Theatre in 2015 and two nights at the 10,000-capacity Indoor Stadium in 2017.
“It’s amazing how I get to play here, at the National Stadium! It’s awesome, he said.
“Everything you hear is live, sounds from my guitar and from this microphone.”
Indeed. Like a magician, Sheeran created and built the layers to all of his songs in real time with his loop pedal, also known as a loop station. From the beats created by hitting the shell of his guitar to harmonising with himself, it was a treat to watch this musical genius on stage.
Japanese four-member band One Ok Rock opened the evening to roaring cheers with their famous tracks such as Push Back, Head High, Clock Strikes and The Beginning.
As the lights dimmed and the live feed of Sheeran approaching the stage was projected on the towering screens, you knew you were in for an awesome night. With just a simple “Hello Singapore”, he kicked off his Singapore leg of the Asia tour with crowd favourite, Castle on the Hill.
The pop star who went from pub singer to global superstar told the audience that he composed and sung songs like A Team many years ago when he was singing to empty pubs, but now, people from all around the world sing along. “It blows my mind to know that people came out to listen to me.”
He even gave a little “pep talk” to the “2 per cent” of the audience – the reluctant boyfriends who were dragged to accompany their girlfriends, and the “superdads” who were there for their young ones. To be fair, it wasn’t hard to adore this songbird for two hours, no matter how much you had been dragged to the concert instead of chugging beers at a bar.
The anticipated sing-along tracks – aka hit songs that you’ve definitely heard on the radio – were scheduled towards the second half of the concert where mega hits like Thinking Out Loud, Perfect and Photograph were played. As one would expect, the stadium turned into a glittering sky where burst of lights from smartphones swayed along with the melodious tunes and fans (myself included) sang their hearts out.
Concertgoers, never leave after the “last song” because, like Marvel movies with their notable post-credits scenes, there is bound to be an encore performance. For those who left the stadium early last evening, you missed his global hit, Shape of You, the most-streamed track on Spotify ever, and dancy track You Need Me. The stadium erupted with cheers and like a mini rock concert, people started jumping in front of their seats, head-bopping to the final tunes by the chart-topping musician.
Thanks for a perfect show, Ed!