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Student Contributions

Elizabeth Edwards
Upper Sixth
West Town

Ed Sheeran: A Rising Star

Ed Sheeran: A Rising Star

When I first saw Ed Sheeran just over a year and a half ago, he was bashful, nervous and almost self-effacing. The massive stage engulfed him in a dark gloom and yet he was still quietly brilliant, mesmerising the crowd with his simple set. Yesterday, however, it felt like a star had been born. The once timid singer is now capturing the crowd with his confidence. I discovered Sheeran last year whilst he was supporting Example’s tour, seeing him for the third time last night I was able to witness how much the singer’s transition from unknown vocalist to number one artist has affected his performance.

Sheeran has had many successes in the past year; which was emphasised last night, he’d just returned from the Teen Awards having won Best British Single and performing to a packed out Wembley Arena. So there’s no denying that his demeanour on stage would have changed due to this. Last night he engaged in casual chitchat with the audience, telling touching stories, tacky jokes and getting full participation from all of us. A year ago, Sheeran appeared quite frightened of the noisy and rowdy crowd and was almost pleading with the audience to like his songs. But there was no need for him to be so reserved; we were all enthralled by his act and the crowd loved him. Seeing him once more last October, my friends and I began to affectionately claim him as ‘our ginge’. Of course this did lead to resentment when he suddenly exploded into the mainstream with his single the ‘A Team’ and his debut album, which recently reached number one. But you have to be pleased for him for all the same.

His story of emergence from obscurity into the crazy world of celebdom is certainly heart warming but let’s put that aside for the moment and get down to basics. What was the gig like? The support acts, Passenger — pretty much a comical, young Ed Sheeran; and Laid Blak — an unusual reggae band, were well suited and very entertaining. Finally at a quarter past nine, Ed took to the stage. He was still on at 11pm, not caring that he’d gone over his curfew by half an hour.

For those of you who don’t know Ed’s music or what he does at gigs, it’s all very clever and that’s what makes him worth going to see: over and over again. Armed with just his faithful guitar and a loop pedal, he sings, raps, beat- boxes and strums into a microphone, recording layer upon layer of riffs until finally it’s that song you recognise. It’s amazing watching him do it. What’s nice about Ed, is although his character has changed over the past year, his whole set is exactly the same; completely unpretentious.

In a very hot, stuffy, jammed packed venue, it was not surprising that people got a little argumentative. But it certainly wasn’t a rowdy gig with Ed arrogantly telling the audience that he was here to create good vibes and peace. Once people settled down the atmosphere was positive. You can hardly be stressed or worked up whilst listening to his music. If anything, it was a little calm in places and my feet were aching to jump around a little bit but some songs like Ed’s ‘You Need Me’ certainly got everyone fairly sweaty.

Ed was a delight to watch and absolutely captivating. At one point he hushed us into complete silence which allowed him to sing passionately without a microphone. We all held our breath. The atmosphere was electric. He got everyone involved in a little gospel singing, with the crowd shouting phrases such as “hallelujah!”, “hell yeah!” and…“Praise the ginge!” He told personal anecdotes about his songs which made the gig very personal and he told impromptu jokes whilst he was tuning his guitar: “What do you call a pig with 10 eyes?” Answer: “A piiiiiiiiiig!” So I don’t think he’s got a career in stand up comedy yet but it was certainly good enough for a crowd full of fan girls. There was plenty of banter from the audience however it was all very sweet and heartfelt. The gig last night was very enjoyable, Ed shone like a star, his confidence brimming. Yet it was still a humble and sincere set, which was what made me fall in love with him in the first place.

17 October 2011

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