I was fortunate enough to buy my ticket to the Ed Sheeran concert early, because if Faceook and other social media sites were anything to go by, there were plenty of people desperate to find tickets even after the booking office had closed. Usually a sign that we are going to be in for a treat!
There were two opening acts that performed before Ed Sheeran. The first opening act was Adam Baluch. A very talented performer and a good choice because he entertained and engaged the crowd well in preparation for the star of the show! The second performer was Ed Sheeran’s personal opening act, Ryan Keen, a very accomplished guitarist with an amazing, slightly raspy voice, singing some powerfully emotional songs. Both great support acts for what everyone had been waiting for!
Adam Baluch Performing
Ryan Keen taking a panorama of the crowd
Ryan Keen’s panorama
Set in the heart of Dubai, surrounded by a dramatic Dubai cityscape, Ed Sheeran performed to a full house on 5 March 2015 at the Dubai Amphitheatre, Media City. ”My name is Ed,” he told a crowd (as if we didn’t know). “I’m here to entertain you, and you’re here to be entertained.” And entertain us he did… Magnificently, opening to I’m A Mess. He’s a quirky, engaging, humorous and very consummate performer. Before performing Don’t he encouraged the crowd to enjoy themselves with, “If you know the words to the songs, then sing a long, and if you don’t know the words, make them up.” He genuinely enjoys himself on stage, feeding off the crowds energy. The result is a night to remember – a fantastic evenings music and entertainment.
The crowd waiting for Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is a very talented one man band. He, his guitar, his trademark loop station, a device which allows a musician to layer instruments and vocal parts on top of one-another entertained a capacity crowd for almost 3 hours without a break. His set list was full and varied. He kept the audience guessing, and entertained by merging various lyrics from not only his own songs, but other artists as well. Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” was combined with a version of two of his own, Nina and Don’t. Take It Back had references to Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious”, and I see Fire had borrowed lyrics from Nina Simone’s, “Feeling Good”. And finally there was a taste of of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” tucked into the marathon rap song “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.”
The set list in order of performance was as follows:
I’m a Mess.
Don’t | Nina | No Diggity.
Take It Back | Superstitious.
Tenerife Sea | Kiss Me.
Thinking Out Loud.
I See Fire | Feeling Good.
The A Team.
Give Me Love.
You Need Me, I Don’t Need You | Fancy | In Da Club.
Mr Sheeran had a host of clever tricks up his sleeve to add depth to his stripped-down songs, like layering his own vocal harmonies, adding percussion by banging on his guitar, and getting the crowd to sing along and harmonise. In the rare songs where he gives his loop pedal a rest he gets the crowd to do his back-up for him.
His songs are like snippets from his personal diary allowing us glimpses into his life, his heartbreaks and things close to his heart. In the song Don’t, he alludes to a girlfriend who betrayed him. There was such humanity in his performance, which was so refreshing and exciting. As a classical pianist I am all too familiar with playing the wrong note in a concert recital, so when he played a wrong chord in Take it Back, I had this wonderful feeling of, “I’m not the only one”. Something I will be taking with me to my next performance. If Ed Sheeran can do it, and play on, so can I.
Eclipse Staging Services did a brilliantly slick job of the Lighting for the event.
He recently picked up two Brit Awards (British Album of the Year, and Best British Male Artist) and I am not surprised. Ed Sheeran is on his way up and I was fortunate to catch him in Dubai at the start of what promises to be a very exciting journey. The encore finale to an incredible show ends with an Ed Sheeran signature move… He asks his fans to keep Sing, the first single from his latest album, X going even after he has left the stage.
Ed Sheeran taking a photo of the crowd
Ed Sheeran’s point of view