Opening Act Obsession



“My, my, my, my, oh give me love.” These were the words Ed
Sheeran opened his act with on April 18th, capturing the audience’s attention
from the moment he came out in Massey Hall, when he warmed up for Snow Patrol.
His pure and talented voice mesmerized the audience during the four songs he
performed, and again for the duet he did with the main act, Snow Patrol. Ed, a
21-year-old English singer/songwriter, has been in the music business since
2005 and is finally releasing his first album titled +, which will be available in North America in June. His sweet, smooth voice has won over audiences world-wide, as they all listen to his music in awe. At the Snow Patrol concert in Toronto,
he was given love by many adoring fans in the audience, as well as many Snow
Patrol ones who were just introduced to him.

The brilliant Ed started off the night with a beautifully executed version of one of his singles, “Give Me Love.”  Without a band onstage, Ed used a machine,
known as a loop pedal, to record his voice and incredible guitar skills, which
then replayed them in a loop. This way he could play the songs with perfection
and keep the complexity of his guitar tabs. Even though he was solo on the
large and famed stage of Massey Hall, where legends like Neil Young have
performed, his presence was magical. He then went into his second song, a
fantastic rendition of Burl Ives’ song “Wayfaring Stranger,” which he sang a
cappella, beat-boxing and harmonizing with the song using the loop pedal. He also
got the crowd to sing “Whoa,” as he split the hall down the middle and taught
the right side a higher harmony and the left a lower one. At one point, he
hushed the audience and sang without the microphone, as the whole audience was
breath-taken by his talent and projection. As the teenage girls, who came
solely just to see him, screamed their lungs out, I could see many audience
members already taking out their smartphones and Googling the gifted young man.
There was even one lady in the seat ahead of me that was buying his EP titled “The A-Team” on her iPhone.

“Hi, if you don’t know me already, my name is Ed Sheeran and I’m from England. I’d appreciate it if you could numb the screaming, and do a whispered ahhh,” he told the audience humbly once again as he finished his a cappella performance. “If you know the words, then sing along. If you don’t, well, then just pretend you do. You seem like pretty good singers, and there needs to be much more singing in the world, and less screaming. That’s what I think.”

After this, he then went into his famed song, “A Team,” and won the crowd over once again. This song was about someone he once met, named Angel, who was a drug-addict and prostitute. They were hard-hitting lyrics, but made for a catchy song.  Unfortunately, it seemed like the song was too short, for his half-hour was almost over. The last tune he sang was a song called “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” This song
included lyrics about his sudden rise to fame and, like many other generic
individuality songs, how he will always remain himself. The fast-sung words and
quick string-plucking got everyone in Massey Hall on their feet and dancing. He
ended it with a sing-and-repeat style interaction with the audience, pointing
the microphone at the crowd, or at one of the fans standing at the base of the
stage. He sadly departed the stage, escorted by many desperate screams for him
to stay for the teenage girls like myself. He told fans, “I’ll be back later in
the show with Snow Patrol, and I hope I see some of you outside the stage door

Twenty minutes later, it was time for the screams to stop
coming from the Ed-obsessed to the older crowd who were crazy about the Irish
band and the main act, Snow Patrol. Their sound was rattling to hear,
especially after just falling in love with the acoustic music of Ed Sheeran.
The loud, muffled sound of the many instruments made it hard to hear the
vocals, and although we looked rude, my friend and I found it was much more
pleasant to listen with fingers in your ears, as you could actually hear the
music. The drunken adults were having the time of their lives, dancing and
singing obnoxiously to the nineteen songs that were played. At one point, the
lead singer, Gary, dedicated a song to his “drunken friend over there, who was
so close to being six months sober. What they don’t tell you is that being here
with me and breaking your streak is a hell of a lot more fun than drinking
tea.” The adult audience loved their humour and songs, while the rest of the
audience was patiently waiting for Ed to come back on to sing his duet entitled
“New York” with the Irishmen.

Finally, the time had come, and Gary made a heartfelt introduction for his opening act. Cheers erupted as Ed Sheeran stepped out on the stage once again, this time in his glasses and sweats. He looked surprised at the extremely positive and enthusiastic reaction, and humbly took a bow afterwards. “New York” is a slow and sincere song about a long distance relationship with a girl living in the big apple.  In a very Sheeran-esque style, the boys shut off the bright lights that had been piercing through the
audience and sang it with only the piano, letting the music speak for itself.

The concert concluded with a three-song encore and a fabulous version of Snow Patrol’s popular song “Chasing Cars.” About 100 other people in the crowd and myself, however, missed this finale. Instead, we waited outside the venue for a half hour, wearing thin coats in the cold, Toronto weather, to meet our favourite ginger. The award-winning Brit has been meeting all his fans outside after the show at every stop of the Snow Patrol tour. Even though a 30-second conversation, a hug, a really bad picture from your friend standing in line behind you, and a quick autograph was all anyone was able to manage, you were able to fall in love with Ed’s genuine humbleness, shyness,
and devotion to his adoring fans.

In conclusion, this was by far one of my favourite concerts.
I was able to experience a performer whose god given gift is so magical it brought
some to tears, meet him, and listen to a well-known band that performed my
favourite song of 2006. I recommend to anyone that wants to have a new musical
obsession to go on YouTube and spend the next five hours listening to Ed
Sheeran, as this up-and-coming artist is sure to blow everyone away. Don’t
worry, he is coming back in September for his own concert, and I will be seeing
you there.