Last night I attended the opening night of Ed Sheeran’s massive 9 date tour of Ireland (the biggest tour EVER in Ireland). Ed fever has truly taken over Cork with every second food business naming a dish or a drink after him and one of Cork’s biggest radio stations rebranding to ‘Ed FM’ for the weekend while he’s here. It’s amazing.
Shortly before 9pm last night, the giant screens erected in Pairc Ui Chaoimh lit up and we got our first glimpse as Ed Sheeran made his way to the stage, beaming from cheek to cheek. I can honestly say that in all the concerts I’ve ever been to, I don’t think I’ve heard a crowd scream louder than in that moment when he took the stage and started into his 2017 hit “Castle on the Hill”.
This really set the vibe for the night, it’s the Friday night of a Bank Holiday weekend, everyone was feeling good. Ed Sheeran is someone who you can tell just loves what he does when he’s on stage. Far too many performers these days do the bare minimum and almost look miserable in doing so. I don’t think the smile left Sheeran’s face throughout his whole 2 hour set.
Throughout the night, we got a nice mix of songs from all 3 of Ed Sheeran’s albums. It was just hit after hit after hit. One thing that I was worried about before the show was the fact that his newest release ‘Divide’ has quite a few slow-ish songs and wondered if that would suck the energy out at times. I can gladly report that I was very wrong as he turned these into massive singalongs. His job was to make us lose our voices and he did a damn good job of it.
Last night was my second time seeing Ed Sheeran perform, both being in a stadium setting. I went to see him in Croke Park in 2015 on his Multiply World Tour. He was amazing both times but I felt like he brought an extra something to Cork last night. I can’t fault a single thing about his performance from start to finish.
The stage setup was beautiful. At first glance, it’s just a screen behind him with some lights and two giant divide symbols at either side of the stage. Once the show started, the screens all came to life. I can’t really properly put it into words, it just worked, and extremely well at that. Every song had different graphics appear on the screen from vibrant colours and animations of his different tattoos to a giant multicoloured lion, to a giant dragon breathing flames. I often found myself just standing in awe of the stage once the sun set and we got the full extent of it all.
As the night went on, Ed took a moment to thank all his support acts (I unfortunately missed them all as I opted for the bar on the way to the stadium) before inviting his first support, Beoga, out on stage to perform with him (shout out to the girl next to me who screamed’oh my god, it’s Gaisce!’ when this happened. Irish words can be hard). They came out to help Ed perform Galway Girl (which he opened with the original Mundy version, great moment) and Nancy Mulligan. This was a proper feel good moment and the place was absolutely hopping!
The energy never died down once from there until the end. His ‘final’ song of the night was Sing. This turned the place into the biggest party ever. Everyone was singing, dancing, jumping. It was amazing. After this we saw Ed walk off stage before returning to a massive roar kitted out in a Cork jersey.
His actual final two songs of the night were 2017’s song of the year Shape of You and his original banger You Need Me I Don’t Need You. I did feel that Shape of You fell ever so slightly flat in the sense that it doesn’t transfer amazingly from radio to live in concert but he absolutely saved the best for last and blew the crowd away with You Need Me.
I’ll never not be amazed at how far Ed Sheeran has come. How one man can command a stage with literallt just his guitar and a loop pedal. No band, no fancy pyrotechnics or fireworks, no big features, just Ed Sheeran. I think that this tour definitely cements him as the biggest star on the planet right now and I don’t think this could be happening to a nicer, more humble guy.
If you have tickets to this tour, I envy you, prepare for one of the most fun nights of your life!
Until next time,