“It’s my job to entertain you, it’s your job to be entertained.” Ed Sheeran
The highlight of last weekend was without a shadow of a doubt the Ed Sheeran concert at the Media City Amphitheatre in Dubai. The teenager nearly exploded with sheer excitement and anticipation about seeing her current favourite performer and luckily the pasty-faced ginger lyrical and musical genius did not disappoint one bit.
Now we have had old Ed on repeat for a while, in the car, in the bedroom, on You Tube and even played on the guitar itself and this all heightened in intensity as the concert got nearer, I can vouch for the fact that the teenager knows ALL the words including the raps. On the road trip to Dubai we couldn’t escape one last rendition of her faves and excited state. Luckily, Sheeran did the business as with anticipation that high you are setting yourself up for potential disappointment, but apparently it was the best concert ever (not sure those around her during the show would agree!!).
Sheeran, 24 is a multi-platinum selling, Grammy nominee, Brit Award winning singer/songwriter who had the simplest show but probably the best I have ever seen. Not a single gimmick insight, no band, no backing singers, no dancers, no fancy shmancy lighting just him, his guitars, a couple of mic’s and his loop pedal and of course his undeniable likability factor, talent and set list of well-known songs. This was the first time he performed in the UAE, as part of his current very long ‘X’ World Tour and it was a sell-out show.
Warming up the crowd was a fellow British guitarist/singer Ryan Keen and his percussionist. Keen left and minutes later the stage was cleared and Sheeran appeared, acoustic guitar in hand, simply dressed in a pale blue shirt with jeans and just started playing I’m a Mess much to the delight of the rapturous crowd. His album titles may be short and sweet ‘+’ and ‘x’ but his song lyrics are honest and heartfelt, written about what he knows. He’s been cheated on, he used to like a drink or two, he’s lost a baby, he’s met drug addicts and even takes the mickey out of himself and his appearance ‘Cause I’m a singer you never wanna see shirtless. And I accept the fact that someone’s got to win worst dressed‘ (Take it Back).
The crowd loved him and it seems he’s carved quite a niche of popularity for himself with the younger generation as they waved plenty of banners declaring their love for this flame-haired Suffolk lad, roses were bought to be thrown and a sea of tour t-shirts had been purchased. Judging by the sing-a-long participation initiated by Sheeran, most of the amphitheatre crowd were very familiar with his lyrics. It’s amazing that one man and his loop pedal (which incase you didn’t know like me, enabled him to layer his guitar and vocals on top of one-another live, clever or what) could produce such an epic sound and mesmerise such a huge crowd, a testament to talent if you ever saw one.
All the favourites were there Lego House, Don’t / Loyal / No Diggity / Nina was followed by Drunk, Take It Back/Superstition, Nina Simone’s Feeling Good combined with I See Fire (from the Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug movie), Photograph and he then requested the crowd to bounce to the more upbeat Bloodstream. Next up was Kiss Me/Tenerife Sea before he swapped from his acoustic to electric guitar for the popular romantic vibes of Thinking Out Loud. Sheeran declared to the crowd “If you don’t know this next song thank you for coming, but I don’t know why you are here,” before strumming the opening bars of his debut single The A Team. He seemed genuinely chuffed that we had all turned out to see him and that he was performing outdoors without it raining!
Give Me Love, was the last song on the set list but it wasn’t long before he was back for the encore with You Need Me, I Don’t Need You (with 50 Cents’ In Da Club and Iggy Azalea’s Fancy mixed in too) and the crowd were in a final frenzy and a now quite sweaty Sheeran brought the show to its climax with Sing, splitting the crowd to sing while he quietly disappeared off stage, a great end to a fantastic concert, the boy done good. Before he left he took his customary photo of the crowd for his Instagram feed, check out all his photos (including the Dubai one below) from the tour to date on teddysphotos
Sheeran blew the roof off the Media City Amphitheatre (well he would have done if there’d been one, you get the gist he was that good). The simplicity of the one-man show and Sheeran’s boy-next-door charm made his concert a ‘must-see’ and he certainly did his job and entertained us. If he’s coming to a venue near you I recommend you grab yourself a ticket, pronto.