Live Review: Ed Sheeran @ SSE Hydro

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Ed Sheeran last night at the SSE Hydro. Credit: Jamie Harris

Ed Sheeran has come a long way since the release of his debut album in 2011. As he mentioned during his second night at The SSE Hydro, he has gone from playing to 12 people at the Glasgow School of Art to playing to 12,000 people. Judging by this tour, it is easy to see why.

Opening his set with ‘Castle on the Hill’, one of the first singles from his third album Divide, Ed already had the sold-out crowd in a rapturous sing-along. The show carried on like this for the next 100 minutes. There was barely a lull as he had the audience in the palm of his hand the whole time, especially after he mentioned that the crowd the night before hadn’t chanted “Here we, here we…” once during the show, resulting in it being chanted after almost every song!

The good thing about this show was the diversity of the tracks on show. While the majority of songs performed tonight were from his new album, there were still some of his older tracks on show including ‘The A Team’, ‘Sing’, ‘Don’t’ and ‘Bloodstream’. There seemed to be a near-perfect balance of some of his slower ballads and upbeat tunes.

The only times that the mania quietened down a little bit was during some of the slower songs, such as ‘How Would You Feel (Paean)’, but even during moments like this the audience were just standing in awe of his one-man band. Moments like this were balanced out by all-singing, all-dancing tracks like the Celtic-inspired ‘Galway Girl’ and ‘Nancy Mulligan’, which were two of the tracks that received some of the most hyped reactions.

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Credit: Jamie Harris

Some people may question how an Ed Sheeran show in massive arenas would be any good, seeing as his show is just him and a loop pedal. His stage show certainly continues to up the ante. The stage was dominated by massive sets designed with screens featuring videos and lyrics throughout while Sheeran bounced around the massive stage, keeping the crowd pumped throughout like a true showman.

If there was one small gripe to be had it is that during his show in Glasgow the previous night, he performed a mash-up of his song from The Hobbit, ‘I See Fire’ with a cover of ‘Human’ by Rag‘n’Bone Man, which he didn’t do at this concert. It sounds like that would’ve been a really great moment; however, it is refreshing to see that he is regularly changing his set, unlike many major artists who tend to do the same songs in the same order on tours of this scale. Instead of that mash-up, we were treated to a performance of ‘Photograph’, which was a rather heartfelt moment in the set.

Closing the show with an encore of ‘Shape of You’ and ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’, the whole place was bouncing and chanting along.

With an effortless charm, a beautiful voice and an already impressive back catalogue, this was a top class show by one of the biggest artists in the world. Ed Sheeran’s Divide world tour is a resounding triumph and, if this show was anything to go by, his Glastonbury headline slot is going to be something special.

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