Review: Ed Sheeran – Divide Tour (Newcastle)

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After dominating the Official UK Charts with 16 tracks from his “Divide” album reaching the top 20, as well as breaking numerous chart records, Ed Sheeran has embarked on a worldwide tour, which stopped off at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017.

Opening the first of two Newcastle dates was Ryan McMullan – a young singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland, who is largely reminiscent of Paolo Nutini. Early arrivers were also treated to Essex-born singer Anne-Marie, who performed well-known hits including “Ciao Adios”, “Alarm” and “Rockabye”.

As the lights dimmed for the final time, Ed Sheeran (dressed in a white Hoax t-shirt and jeans) walked onto the stage with guitar in hand to deafening screams, which grew louder and louder as the singer-songwriter played the opening bars of “Castle On The Hill”.

“This is my first show in England in two years,” Ed Sheeran explained. “I’m feeling myself again after recovering from man flu so let’s go nuts Newcastle,” he added, before breaking into “Eraser” – the story of his rise to fame and the struggles he face, even as a multi million-selling artist.

It was fitting that “The A Team”, the track that gave Ed Sheeran his big breakthrough in 2011, followed. “The first time I performed in Newcastle was at a venue called the Cluny2 to 50 people. I played this and only a few people knew the words.” This certainly wasn’t the case at the Metro Radio Arena, as the folk ballad echoed around the venue.

Ed Sheeran dedicated his next song, an interesting mash-up of “Don’t” and “New Man”, to all the men. The combination of the two, which are both odes to ex-girlfriends who have moved on to new partners, worked brilliantly together.

The setlist predominantly consisted of tracks from his record-breaking album “Divide”, including the thought-provoking “Happier”, the summer vibes of “Barcelona” and the ever so familiar composition of “How Would You Feel (Paean)”, but also included songs from his second album, “Multiply”, such as “Photograph”, “Bloodstream” and “Thinking Out Loud”.

Ed Sheeran’s Irish folk musical influence was also evident throughout the set, with performances of the delightfully charming “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” – the story of Ed’s grandfather falling in love, despite their Catholic-Protestant religious differences and against her father’s wishes.

Each and every track was accompanied by a breath-taking visual display projected onto the back wall of the arena, such as love hearts showering down during “Perfect” and a space theme for “Thinking Out Loud”. The extraordinary lighting rig was also spectacular to watch, adding to the party atmosphere inside the Metro Radio Arena.

Ed Sheeran brought the show to a close with “Sing”, leaving the stage to the sound of “oh-oh-oh-ohhh” echoing throughout the arena. Fans didn’t have to wait long for more as Sheeran returned to the spotlight just minutes later for his two-song encore: “Shape of You” and a truly epic performance of “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”.

It’s no secret that Ed Sheeran is a talented performer, but the way in which he commands the stage with just an array of guitars and a loop pedal, combined with his flair for writing folk ballads, makes him one of the best musicians of our time.

Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” tour continues at the Newcastle Metro Radio Arena on Thursday, April 20th, 2017 and ends on Saturday, October 7th, 2017 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Tickets for the show can be purchased from the official website.