Ed Sheeran is one of the hottest artists of the moment. His Divide Tour was in high demand and ticket sales resulted in many sold out arenas in a matter of seconds. I was lucky enough to land myself a ticket to his additional date at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Having bought my ticket in July last year, I had been excitedly waiting for this day to arrive for nearly a year. The build up to the gig was met with high expectations as I saw Instagram feeds slowly become centred around his European leg of the tour.
We will get the negative parts out of the way first. The venue was pretty disappointing. Firstly there was no services for free tap water. In the June humidity, fans were queuing up (bearing in mind, there was a lot of children there) to get a drink to be told that a small bottle of water was going to set them back £2! Some savvy customers took the hit first time around and then continued to fill the bottles in the toilets but in large venues such as Etihad and Murrayfield, there was free drinking water available at all times and within easy access. I found this to be quite poor given the high volume of people and it potentially being a safety risk.
Secondly, we were told through Ticketmaster and the media that we needed to ensure that we had our tickets, ID, Booking Confirmation and Bank card that we paid for the tickets with. My poor friend had to fish out an expired bank card that she purposely kept for many months to ensure she would get into the gig with no issues. There was countless media reports that people were being turned away for the concert due not bringing all the documents, so we made sure that we were prepared. With all this in mind, I was surprised when I arrived at the turnstile and ticket was scanned and told to go straight on through without battering an eyelid… No ID check? No confirmation check? I had wasted precious clutch bag space and ran the risk of something happening to my passport for the security checks not to be in place that Ed Sheeran was so passionate about.
ANYWAYS, NEGATIVITY OVER! Time to talk about the music!
The two warm up acts, Jamie Lawson and Anne-Marie and were two artists I knew of prior to the evening.
Jamie Lawson signed to Ed Sheeran’s music label Gingerbread Man Records a few years ago after some lukewarm success in Ireland. He is a one hit wonder known for his song ‘I wasn’t expecting that’. He is very much a talented busker who is perhaps past their prime that has lucked out with a record deal. Despite heartfelt vocals, the lyrics and music seem bland and generic but pleasant to listen to as the crowds starting to enter the venue. The engagement with the audience was lacking as he came across as borderline desperate. It is understandable for the first of two warm up acts as fans was going to receive less engagement as people are reserving their energy levels, but wasn’t helped when he mistakenly shouted out “London” instead of “Glasgow” which was naturally met by boos from the crowd to which he meekly asked for it not to be posted on social media. Safe to say I will not be hurrying to fill my Google Play music list with his songs.
The second act was Anne Marie, who is currently dominating the UK Top 40 Charts with catchy tunes such as ‘2002’ (which she co-wrote with Ed Sheeran), ‘Friends’ and ‘Alarm’. Her inexperience on large stages showed, with her looking in awe at the high volumes of people singing along to her songs. Despite this, the crowd endeared to her and showed high levels of engagement and her vocal performance did not falter. She brought energy to the evening and put the audience’s spirits high in anticipation for Ed Sheeran. I have no doubt that she will entertain festival goers throughout the summer with her bouncy, funloving attitude and songs.
Ed’s 90 minute set was just one man with a guitar and a looping pedal. There are no frills with his performance and whether selling out stadiums or singing to an intimate venue, the nature of his set would not differ which adds to his charm and versatility. His interaction with the audience was the perfect amount of engagement without eating too much into the show time. He kept his show entertaining with colourful filters on the screens, showing floating designs in keeping with the song’s themes.
Due to the poor visibility of the artist in the East and West wings, it made the evening still entertaining and connecting the audience with the artist. He varied from across his albums with 9 songs from Divide, 7 from Multiply, 2 from Plus and ‘I see Fire’ from the Hobbit. This kept all degrees of Ed Sheeran fans both old and new enthused.
There were several highlights of the evening including ‘Castle on the Hill’ which he opened with to rapturous screams and jumping. ‘Sing’ was met with everyone up on their feet, both young and old waving their hands and singing along to easy and memorable chorus. and ‘Galway Girl’ resulted in lots of little girls who were dressed in Ed Sheeran merchandise dancing routines in the small spaces around their seats that they clearly were learnt in after school dance classes to which mothers were videoing proudly. There was a great sense of romance in the air too as two brave gentlemen decided to get down on one knee and propose their the significant others during what I can only guess is ‘their song’. Everyone left the evening in high spirits but exhausted from the 4 and a half hour long event and the humid weather.
A packed European Tour will leave Ed Sheeran surely out of energy but it was clear that he gives it his all for each and every performance that he does. It must be exhausting without the support of a band but he definitely gave the crowd an entertaining night.