Ed Sheeran | Review

Ed Sheeran | Review

Boucher Road Playing Fields, Belfast • Wednesday 09 May ’18

By Sharon Clarke • Photos: Marta Janiszewska

Regardless of your musical tastes, it has to be acknowledged the world just loves Ed Sheeran. When he announced he would be playing in Belfast this year the country went into ticket buying panic mode and it was sold out within hours.

I went to the concert with an open mind as I haven’t heard a lot of his music, I know I’m in hiding as we speak – for daring to commit musical blaspheme against the power of Ed Sheeran!

As I approached the Boucher Playing Fields I was taken back by the sheer volume people. I have been to a lot of concerts in my time but have never seen quite so many in Belfast. The rain had stopped, the sun appeared and I found myself inwardly chuckling as I thought, “but of course it is Ed Sheeran, the almighty”.

 It’s also fabulous to see forty-thousand plus people descend on a city to see a concert when not-so-long-ago, many bands skipped the city due to the troubles. Now Belfast is definitely fixed on the gig scene. The crowd were an eclectic mix of ages, from meeting my new pal Holly who was seven who knew all the words, to attendees that were ages of 80. A very relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Ed was supported by three other acts, Beoga, an Irish folk band, formed in Kerry with members from County Antrim and County Derry. Jamie Lawson, an English singer/songwriter from Plymouth who was the first artist to be signed by Ed Sheeran’s new record label Gingerbread Man Records. The final support act was Anne-Marie who has chart hits with ‘Rock-a-bye’ and ‘Alarm’. I was very impressed with Belfast’s crowd, as sometimes audiences can be quite dismissive of the support acts. I’ve always found this quite sad but Belfast had so much love to the supports for this gig.

Then the moment came, the anticipation in the air felt like a unified force, and the screams when he came on stage could be heard for miles. What sticks in my head is that it was one guy and one guitar! And he filled the whole grounds with his talent!  He opened with ‘Castle on the Hill’. He, as I would have expected interacted with the audience, a very cool laid back man with a general aura of friendliness and the ability to laugh at himself whilst remaining humble. His set included all the hits, ‘Shape of You’, ‘Perfect’, ‘Dive’, and then he brought Beoga back on stage for ‘Galway Girl’. This was the moment the crowd had been waiting for and I think we were all heard in Galway.

It is debated quite often that music has slightly lost its way in today’s society what with gimmicks, autotunes, elaborate dance routines etc., and I agree to a point. Here was this 27-year-old man, from Halifax who has sold more than 26-million albums and 100-million singles worldwide, with just a guitar creating music that will be remembered for years to come.

He ended his set with ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ – and he rapped most of it so well that I think Eminem might have called a taxi, alternatively, it would have made an interesting freestyle standoff.  The crowds that came out for Ed Sheeran definitely went away singing, smiling with memories of a fantastic concert. A talented man and a night that did Belfast proud for gigs.

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