After Ed Sheeran’s wildly successful 2017 album, Divide, and a subsequently sold-out arena tour last year; Sheeran is back with a massive stadium tour this summer. I was thrilled to hear he was playing at the Rogers Centre in Toronto for 2 nights!
Fans packed the stadium in anticipation of Sheeran’s one-man-band style performance. The stage had a very unique setup, featuring a video wall that protruded out over the stage, accompanied by video screens on both sides of the massive setup. When he took the stage at precisely 9:00 pm, Sheeran ascended a high stage and took his place in the center, where he began to build the show opener, “Castle on the Hill.”
Unlike the finely polished album versions of each song, Sheeran explained he needs to create each track on the album live and put it on a loop, before he can begin playing his acoustic guitar over it. This made for a thrilling experience to watch, as he performed his craft song-after-song throughout the evening. Very early into the night, Sheeran pointed out that the show was the largest he’s ever played in Canada. As expected, a huge eruption from the crowd sounded.
Sheeran followed the show opener with “Eraser,” another top hit off of his recent album, before digging into his 2011 debut album with “A Team.” The acoustic and solo nature of Sheeran’s performance created an exceptionally intimate experience, regardless of the fact that there were around 50,000 fans in attendance.
A few more songs into the set, Sheeran sang “Happy Birthday” for his guitar tech, Trev. The act provided some brief levity, but also fueled the feeling within the stadium that fans were much closer to the performance than they truly were.
The vast majority of the set was drawn from Sheeran’s last two albums, with only a few selections from his debut or EP releases. A few additional highlights of the evening included some of Sheeran’s biggest recent hits such as “Thinking Out Loud” and “Photograph” from 2014’s “X” (Multiply) album. Another fun moment from the album was “I See Fire,” which also appeared on the 2013 soundtrack to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Rounding out the hits from the “Divide” album, Sheeran’s set included performances of “Perfect,” “Galway Girl,” “Happier,” and “Dive” before including the albums first hit, “Shape of You” as part of his encore set.
Over the course of the show, Sheeran stopped to talk with the crowd on multiple occasions. He took each of these opportunities to connect with all of us in attendance. These chats ranged from him talking about stage fright, and how singing along to his favorite songs often resulted in drawing blanks to lyrics. He also jokingly thanked all the boyfriends and husbands in the crowed for accompanying their girls at the show.
At the end of the night, the packed stadium filed out from what was certainly one of the most memorable shows of the year. As Sheeran’s career quickly progressed from folk hero to international superstar in the last few years, it’s been refreshing to be able to genuinely cheer on his success and eagerly wait for what he’ll deliver next.
In the meantime, he’s spanning North America with his stadium tour through November 10th, where the tour concludes in Atlanta Georgia. If you’re thinking of going, be sure to get your tickets. Bring the kids, this was a fun and enjoyable show for fans of all ages.
- Castle on the Hill
- The A Team
- Don’t / New Man
- Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J Hill & Patty Hill cover)
- Lego House
- Tenerife Sea
- Galway Girl
- Feeling Good / I See Fire
- Thinking Out Loud
- Nancy Mulligan
- Shape of You
- You Need Me, I Don’t Need You