REVIEW: Ed Sheeran Manchester Etihad Stadium

When Ed Sheeran was announced as last year's headline act at Glastonbury there were the usual band of naysayers out to question whether this one man band could pull it off - big stage, big crowd.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 18th June 2018, 5:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 3:38 pm
Ed Sheeran performed four nights at the Manchester Etihad
Ed Sheeran performed four nights at the Manchester Etihad

Fast forward a year and the Grammy award winning singer-songwriter, who has sold no less than 100 million singles, is in Manchester armed again with just his acoustic guitar, a loop pedal and an arrangement of huge screens, on his first stadium tour. It seems he had very little trouble selling out four nights at the Etihad, with audiences of 250,000

With three albums Sheeran's back catalogue isn't yet as extensive as some of the major players on the stadium circuit, but it matters not to masses who follow him, teenage devotees to the 'unsure boyfriends and the super dads' as he himself labels them.

Walking in to open his set with Castle on the Hill, a homage to memories of growing up in Framlingham, Suffolk, the wave of noise of a 50,000 strong crowd sets the tone for the next hour and a half.

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Such is his talent he plays on his likeability factor in a coy manner to play through his 17 song set list as if he is gigging in the local pub, not one of the UK's biggest football stadiums, remember The Ferret in Preston anyone?

On a glorious Thursday evening the 27-year-old troubadour shares with the crowd a story of an early gig in Manchester on a night he had high hopes to mingle with the big music execs only to embarrassingly end up playing to just one person, he jokes that man is now his lawyer. I'd say that night worked out well for them both. With that he launches into A-Team.

Sheeran, while joking about his own awkwardness and inhibitions at big shows has very little trouble commanding and conducting a crowd on how they're to get involved at his own and a wave of light over the stadium during hit "Perfect" is quite overwhelming. 'Happier' is another high note of the evening. 'Photograph' and 'Thinking Out Loud' both prove big singalongs Nancy Mulligan and Galway Girl get the crowd jigging.

He brings the energy right back up as he needs to for the encore - through highly charged hits 'Sing' and 'Shape of You' - coming out to perform in a 'I heart MCR' t-shirt , a touching tribute in an emotional week with the turn of the first anniversary of the Manchester terrorist attack. It was well received.

The floor was definitely bouncing for the final extended 'You Need Me, I Don’t Need You'

For those naysayers, Sheeran again delivered his masterclass on how to play a massive show; the stadiums might not yet be quite the right fit, he still may not be everyone's favourite pop star, but in Manchester 'the home of British music' as Sheeran hailed it, he proved he doesn't have to be and I'm sure that's fine with him.