At Consol Energy Center on May 12th, thousands of fans flocked to the downtown hot-spot to see British musician and star Ed Sheeran. His rise to stardom began with smash-hit “The A Team,” circa 2011, and his star has only begun rising.
From his first album, “+”, both “The A Team” and “Lego House” were on the Billboard Top 100 and swept countries worldwide. Sheeran’s most recent album “x” has also skyrocketed up both American and British charts; songs such as “Sing”, “Thinking Out Loud”, and “Don’t” have been heard on radio stations everywhere.
At Consol, Sheeran’s opening act, Ben Kweller was less than satisfying. Kweller, who has been active in the music world since 2002, did not quite match Sheeran’s musical vibe, nor did he pleasantly offset the clear tones of Sheeran’s voice. Instead, Kweller’s set of low, sad songs gave off nostalgic and regretful vibes. The low, mournful sound did not get the audience pumped up for the main event, which was unfortunate, as Kweller’s voice is pleasant to listen to.
However, when Sheeran did emerge, the energy was immediately changed from the boring and sleepy mood created by Kweller. Sheeran opened with his song “I’m A Mess,” a fast-paced, frantic song describing a confused emotional state from his most recent album. Immediately, people were off their feet and dancing wildly.
One of Sheeran’s most evident talents after seeing the show is his ability to mix older music with his own to make a funky new sound. Some of the combinations Sheeran made were his own “Don’t” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” Some older people who seemed unhappy to be out so late on a Tuesday night immediately jumped to their feet when hearing the opening notes to the hip-hop classic. Sheeran also mixed his own “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” during the finale, adding a delightful element of surprise and funk.
When Sheeran played “Drunk,” the clearly wasted girls sitting in front of my sister, after singing along for hours, lifted her up and swung her around to the tune of the music, whilst kissing their beer bottles. To Haley’s alarm, I found this behavior far more funny than harmful. There confusion about the incredible graphics on the screen behind Sheeran was also hilarious.
Since Sheeran played the whole show by himself, with an acoustic guitar, the show could have easily become boring and quiet (like Ben Kweller’s performance!) but the amazing use of a stage-size screen behind Sheeran kept the audience interested. The screen was controlled by Sheeran, with cleverly located panels at his feet; he could make one to four pictures of himself appear, colors explode onto his face, clips of his music videos appear, and the words of his songs light up behind him.
Moreover, Sheeran’s voice is just as clear and beautiful live as he is on radio, perhaps an oddity in today’s pop culture. His clear, captivating voice, well-chosen songs, and great graphics made for an incredible concert.