Ed Sheeran at Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham review

Having just been announced as one of this year's Glastonbury headliners, Ellie Kemp saw the pop sensation at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena and this is her verdict on the night.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 2nd May 2017.
Originally published: 27th Apr 2017

Image: Ed Sheeran by Dan Massie 

It had been five years since Ed Sheeran first set foot on the stage of Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena. As that occasion signalled the debut arena performance for the singer-songwriter, it's a wonder at that point whether he knew what more was to come from his career. 

Having since played close to 200 dates around the globe, the recent chart domination with his third album Divide has only allowed him to grace even bigger stages, including the ultimate crowning glory, the infamous Pyramid Stage at this year's Glastonbury. 

Deafening cheers met the ginger-haired star as he stepped into the view of thousands of spectators, clutching his iconic guitar. The stage is decorated with nothing more than a loop pedal, a microphone and unusually, a keyboard – this is all Sheeran needs to keep an audience engaged for an hour and a half. 

The set begins with chart-topper 'Castle On The Hill', which had the crowd singing along instantly. After greeting them, Sheeran offers up some advice to his fans, "Use your full singing voices - and if you don't know the words, make them up!" Transitioning into the opening track on his latest release, 'Eraser' the part rap, part sing-a-long single is a witty and well thought out introduction to the gig, as it's cemented with the lyrics: "Welcome to the new show".

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Sheeran then treated the audience to his breakthrough hit, 'The A Team'. It's an emotional song; one which can only be sung with full force and dramatic hand movements, which is exactly what the crowd delivers. Picking up the mood, the night continued with sassy single 'Don't', which is smoothly mixed with the equally-as-sassy New Man, sending the crowd into a frenzy.  

It's worth noting Sheeran's stage presence - his chat is friendly and casual, and clad in a black shirt, black jeans and grey trainers, he could've easily been one of the roadies. Despite his success, there are no airs and graces with this man, he simply is what he is.

Next, he demonstrates his ingenious use of the loop pedal with old favourite 'Bloodstream'. The different layers of the song are each performed individually - using only his guitar and his vocals. It's beautifully crafted and faultless harmonies are interwoven with dynamic melodies and hypnotic beats. He does it with such ease, that it's somewhat mesmerising to witness. 

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Shortly after, the keyboard is put to good use for slow-dance track 'How Would You Feel (Paean)'. Borrowing support act Anne-Marie's keyboard player Ashton Miranda, the song is a definite crowd-pleaser, with the instrument adding another dimension to Sheeran's sound. 

The show is rounded off with an encore of yet another chart-topping hit, 'Shape Of You', and a fiery rendition of 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You', making OG fans feel like rap gods. The arena echoes the lyrics back to Sheeran, word perfect and on the beat. He revels in this, stepping out as far as he possibly can from the stage, leaning over, teasing fans with his presence. 

He left the stage with a look of disbelief as the crowd gives him one last ravenous applause. It will be interesting to see where Sheeran will be in another five year's time, especially since the musician has recently announced his potential retirement from music. No matter what the future holds for Ed, it's clear that Nottingham will always be a reminder, for both him and his fans, of one of the many incredible milestones throughout his career.