On Thursday 23 October 2014, Ed Sheeran played at the Capital FM Arena as part of his X Tour, supported by Nottingham born and bred Callum Burrows – better known as Saint Raymond. It was my fifth time seeing Sheeran live, so I guess you could say I’m a pretty big fan of his!
Opening the show, Saint Raymond, who’s from Bramcote, sang his own songs, including “Fall At Your Feet,” which I recognised right away from his Splendour Festival set. He and his band gave off a great vibe and were greatly appreciated by their home fans.
Shortly after, Sheeran made a quick appearance to get his loop pedals ready, then went off stage again.
The anticipation grew, until not long after, the lights went off, and the music began. Sheeran kicked it off with “I’m a Mess,” from his new album, which immediately got the whole crowd singing along. He then told us that he wanted everyone to “leave [his concert] without a voice,” and encouraged us all to “sing along.” He also went on to say how “the Capital FM Arena was the first arena [he'd] played, 2 years ago”, and that he was very familiar with Nottingham clubs and venues – he’s previously played at the likes of The Maze and The Rescue Rooms!
Next, Sheeran sang a classic that everyone knew, “Lego House,” followed by “Don’t,” one of the popular singles off his latest album. He cleverly mashed “Don’t” up with “No Diggity” by Blackstreet, which got the arena grooving along with him. This just goes to show how versatile of a performer he is. Later on in the show, he did another mash-up, but this time of his song “Runaway,” with the Back Street Boy’s “Everybody,” which fitted together perfectly.
One of my favourite songs of the night had to be “Bloodstream,” another track off the new album. Sheeran skillfully lay down the beat using the loop pedal, played the guitar backing of the song, then sang and recorded the harmonies, one after the other, as if he had backing singers with him – and then began the first verse. He built the verse up, then let the beat drop and the chorus took over. His ability to play the whole concert alone, and put every song together the way he did, was fascinating to watch and even more so to listen to.
Soon after, Sheeran whipped out an electric guitar to play his latest single, “Thinking Out Loud,” which was quite a surprise, as up until then he had played only on acoustic guitars. The use of the electric guitar changed the feel of the music up a bit, and released a new surge of energy throughout the arena. Another amazing thing to witness was how receptive the crowd were of Sheeran, particularly during that song. As he sang the line “When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades/ And the crowds don’t remember my name,” the crowd cheered and screamed, showing that it would take a long, long time for Sheeran to be forgotten by this audience.
The arena then became a gospel choir as Sheeran performed “Give Me Love,” a single from his first album+. He dashed off stage, but returned for an encore of three killer songs. He started off with “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” and again made full use of his loop pedal, jumping around from one to the other and really going for it. From the screen, you could see Sheeran from all different angles, so you got to see in full the work he was putting in, again,to control the loop pedals, sing and play guitar. Next, he performed “The A Team,” and asked everyone to put their lights in the air. The arena lit up and the crowd echoed Sheeran’s song, creating a beautiful ambience.He finished off with one of his most well-known songs, “Sing,” and made an exit while the crowd were still cheering and singing along.
Overall it was a brilliant performance – one of which I’m sure will be remembered by the die-hard Sheeran fans.