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UK native Ed Sheeran went quintuple platinum on his debut album “+” in 2011 and quickly became a sensation in the U.S. in 2012. Despite having a similar fan base as One Direction, his music has sophisticatedly blended hip hop, pop, and folk into a unique sound. He played at Hammerstein Ballroom on June 14th as part of his Multiply Tour.
The San Francisco band Finish Ticket opened the show with songs off their new album “Tears You Apart.” Starting off with mediocre, indecipherable lyrics and deafening guitar riffs on songs like “Doctor” and “In the Summer,” they eventually spiked the energy of the audience with a cover of The Killers’ “When You Were Young” and finished strongly with “Bring the Rain.”
Ed came out with a bang, starting of with “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” For an artist normally known for his down-tempo,intimate ballads, the acoustic rap jam definitely captured the audience, who were dancing, singing, clapping, and at least attempting to follow along with the rap. Like many of his songs to follow, this one blew away the album version. The passion, the fast and hard guitar chords and the rhythmic and sharp rap beats made this a memorable opening number.
After “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” Sheeran called for “a universal shh.” After playing such a high energy song, calling for quite was abrupt and a bit annoying. This isn’t a library, Ed. He followed with an emotional rendition of “Lego House,” a soft love ballad and a favorite of many fans, but something better suited to play later in the night. The back-and-forth made it a bit hard to keep the quiet established by the universal shh, but it was impressive that a room full of teenagers could be effectively silenced with such a simple request.
Then came a stretch of Ed’s signature acoustic love songs, like “Thinking Out Loud” and “Give Me Love.” With these songs Ed’s connection with the audience shined through thanks to his magnetic stage presence and call-and-answer interaction during songs. His last song was a touching performance of “The A-Team,” which was nominated for a Grammy this year.
For the encore the funky vibe and infectious beat of Ed’s latest single “Sing” got the audience jumping, shouting, singing, and twirling their jackets in the air. At Ed’s instructions, the audience kept chanting and singing well after he had left the stage.
Despite being known for quieter acoustic songs, Ed Sheeran proved his music could hold up at a concert and bring some energy to a show. With full demand of the stage and interacting with the audience every chance he got, Ed Sheeran proved to be an artist made for concerts.