Melbourne’s Festival Hall on March 4th was packed out with fans absolutely itching to see Ed Sheeran perform and my god, they were not shy about letting him know.
Supported by Gabriella Aitken and Passenger, this evening of acoustic tunes definitely captivated the whole room.
First to take the stage was Gabriella Aplin from whom I was initially given two impressions, very young and very nervous. Once she began singing though she seemed to settle into it a little more. Aplin opened with ‘Panic Cord’ and instantly grabbed everyone’s attention with her sweet yet powerful voice and the nervousness suddenly became a very sweet part of her performance.
The next support in keeping with the acoustic theme of the evening was yet another unique singer-songwriter who goes by Passenger. From the second he opened his mouth and began singing I was absolutely blown away by the distinctive tone in his voice and that in combination with the amount of feeling with which he performed made the performance so memorable.
After his first song ‘Fairytales And Firesides’ which absolutely charmed this mostly teenage and female crowd, his charm were sustained when he started to communicate with the crowd. Not only was he a massive cutie but also he was a lovely humble person who created an instant connection with the crowd. The definite stand out in his set was a song called ‘I Hate’ which was a comical song about various things he hated complete with audience participation in the chorus. The whole room was having a lot of fun. It was great to see a musician who was just as passionate as he was humble. It can certainly be a rear balance to strike. At the end of his set, he graciously thanked the crowd before leaving both the stage and a big group of restless young people who were anxiously awaiting the main act.
The excitement in the room even before Sheeran came out was absolutely bewildering. The crowd were screaming the lyrics to ‘A-Team’ well before the lights even went down. There’s no elegant way of putting it… when Sheeran came out and the crowd completely lost their shit.
He opened with ‘Give Me Love’ and not to sound like too much of a cliché, but that’s exactly what the crowd did as they echoed every lyric of the song. Tell you what though, for a short red headed man the response he got from the crowd was something that in this day and age I would expect for One Direction or Justin Beiber. In his opening song, he elicited the use of his own band, which he created on the spot. Of course I am referring to the always impressive (when used correctly) Boss Loop Station, which are certainly becoming an increasingly popular assist for artists of many genres.
Every song seemed to just get a bigger response than the last but a definite crowd pleaser was ‘Small Bump’ which impressively enough, Sheeran got the crowd singing the chorus of as he harmonised over the top of them. Next from his seemingly endless bag of tricks, Sheeran invited Gabriella Aplin back to the stage to join him for their duet arrangement of his song ‘Kiss Me’ which was absolutely adorable to say the least. I think its fair to say during this song that the whole room had a nice big case of the warm and fuzzies. He then invited Passenger back to the stage whom the crowd were certainly happy to see again, at which point they performed a song that Passenger wrote called ‘Hearts On Fire’. Their harmonies were perfect and the combination of both of their voices was beautiful.
As the show came closer to the end the crowd were even more energetic than they were at the beginning, something I didn’t think possible, when they heard Ed begin to play ‘Lego House’. After a few minutes of more deafening screams Sheeran returned for his two-song encore. The first of the songs played was ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’, which Sheeran resorted back to his trusty Loop Station for and the amount of sound he managed to get out of it using only his voice and an acoustic guitar was again remarkable but in all honestly this song definitely dragged on a bit. Finally the crowd went mental for the song they had been waiting for which was of course ‘The A-Team’ which was much more minimal than the previous song and was a fantastic note to finish on.
Ed Sheeran proved himself to be no naïve pop star but a dedicated musician who was refined in his craft. He is certainly a figure to be admired by aspiring musicians of this particular musical persuasion not only in the sense that he is a talented performer but also in his innate sense of creativity and experimentation with sound.
Ed Sheeran setlist for Festival Hall, Melbourne, March 5:
Give Me Love
Be My Husband
Heart’s On Fire
You Need Me, I Don’t Need You
The A Team
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