Ed Sheeran - Metro Radio Arena
Live Review

Ed Sheeran – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

The Ed Sheeran gig at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena is sold out – there is an infectious sense of excitement in the chill night air as people of all ages and backgrounds walk down to the arena and fill it to capacity.

Opening act Saint Raymond is a born showman; with his catchy The 1975-esque lead lines on songs such as ‘Young Blood’ and newest single ‘Fall At Your Feet’, and a voice not dissimilar to the headliner himself, he makes a good impression on the crowd, and by the end of his forty-minute set, is likely to have built up a rabid new fanbase. The 19-year-old (whose real name is Callum Burrows) showcases a maturity on stage that is sure to set him in good stead when he headlines his own shows.

During the interval, all of the equipment on stage is taken away and replaced with two microphones, a loop pedal and screens. The minimal stage set-up would be strange for any other artist; as Ed walks out to deafening applause, it’s easy to see that he isn’t dwarfed by the large stage; his larger-than-life presence and charisma work perfectly in his favour.

Launching into ‘I’m A Mess’, Ed begins his display of mesmerising musicianship. Each song in his setlist is built up by feeding sounds into the loop pedal and layering loops over each other to sing over; the fact that doesn’t once regress into himself and keeps his connection with the crowd throughout is a credit to him as an entertainer. Favourites like ‘Lego House’, ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and ‘Drunk’ inspire huge rousing sing-alongs, and have the crowd, from front to back, in both standing and seated areas. The screens behind Ed play a part in the sparse visual effects to accompany Ed’s music – ‘One’ is accompanied by a touching animated music video, as is the epic ‘I See Fire’.

Ed is a great performer; his boundless energy and creativity keep his audience on its toes – his mash-ups of Don’t/Loyal/No Diggity and Runaway/Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) are gems, and lead into his encore, which is a highlight. An extended and spell-binding, electro-infused version of ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ perfectly sets up the final song of the night ‘Sing’ – the crowd is screaming the lyrics back at Ed, threatening to drown him out completely. “Keep singing!” he yells gleefully, as he takes his leave, and true enough, the chanting continues until long after the stage lights go down – the audience spill onto the streets of Newcastle, still singing.

– Iqra Choudhry

Venue: Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Support Band: Saint Raymond

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