10/11/12 - Ed Sheeran "strums on my heart-strings like he was a Grade 8"

I am an absolute sucker for singer-songwriters and boys with guitars, which explains my love for Ed Sheeran.  His music is beautiful, his lyrics equally heart-wrenching and hilarious, and his talent seems to know no bounds.  Armed only with his acoustic guitar, a couple of microphones and a loop pedal, he takes every venue by storm.  Wednesday was the second time I've had the pleasure to be in one of his audiences and I have to say, I loved it just as much as the first time. 

It wasn't surprising to see that the average age of the crowd was probably about 16 and the queue was huge - I even heard some kids discussing how their friends had taken the day off school to stake out good places early on.  I can see why Ed's music appeals to the teenage demographic - his romantic lyrics are enough to melt any girl in her tracks.  However, it may have come as a bit of a surprise for some of the girls, and definitely for the parents who accompanied them, to listen to some of Ed's other songs.  While it's easy to write him off as your typical singer-songwriter for doe-eyed girls, many of his songs have more mature content concerning drinking, drug abuse, miscarriage and heartbreak.  Personally, I think it's part of why he's so popular.  With his easy combination of acoustic soul, pop, reggae and hip-hop, his songs may speak straight to the hearts of every idealistic girl out there but they're also gritty, realistic and down-to-earth portrayals of modern life.  

Ed is honestly one of the best and most charismatic performers I've seen live.  He has such an amazing energy and develops a rapport with the audience almost from the moment he walks on stage.  Between songs, he chats easily and makes little jokes without them ever seeming awkward or overdone.  One thing I will say is; don't go to an Ed Sheeran gig if you're not big on audience participation.  There is a lot of singing (which I wholeheartedly approve of) and throughout the course of his set, we were Ed's 'gospel choir', and he even had the two halves of the audience harmonising with each other.

Some might find it hard to imagine his acoustic album translating into a live spectacular, but that's the only word I can use for it.  Particularly his huge hit, 'You Need Me Man, I Don't Need You', which he performed as the first song of his encore was totally mental.  Like, totally.  The rapid-fire lyrics, the insane looped backing track and the energy of the crowd all added up to an incredible experience.  Everyone was dancing and trying to rap along with the song and just generally loving life.  

Other highlights -for me, at least - were my absolute favourite song from Ed's album, 'Goldrush', a cover of Nina Simone's 'Be My Husband' (with a lot of audience singing and clapping) and the wonderful 'Wayfaring Stranger'.  For those who don't know it, it's a gorgeous folk song and Ed somehow managed to get the whole huge room so quiet that he was able to sing the end of the song acapella and with no mic.  I don't know about the people nearer the back, but I could still hear perfectly and it was a magical moment.

I am not ashamed to say that I may have shed a tear or two throughout the evening; there are certain of Ed's songs then really mean a lot to me for various reasons and lyrics that get me choked up every time I hear them.  There's always one.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to embed the video I wanted to, but if you're interested in seeing snippets of the actual concert that I was at, click on THIS LINK.  I highly recommend you 

If you're an Ed Sheeran fan, then you probably know that the music video for his new single 'Give Me Love' went live on last night.  If not, I'll embed the video below or go to this link.  Personally, I think it's stunning.  Let me know what you think in the comments!

Ed's just got back from supporting Snow Patrol around some of their US tour dates and will be opening for Taylor Swift on her 2013 tour of the States.  If anyone would like to provide me with tickets for that, plus flights and somewhere to stay, I would be most grateful!

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