Ed Sheeran w/ James Blunt
Tacoma Dome, Seattle, WA

At this point, it’s significantly easier to find someone who’s heard of Ed Sheeran than someone who hasn’t. And chances are the people who “haven’t heard of him,” would still instantly recognize one of his songs. Apparently, that’s just the norm when you’re #4 on the Billboard top 100, and essentially never leave that chart, only gaining popularity with each album. Ed Sheeran has been dropping albums since 2011, and with each new release, his fame skyrockets back to the top, and his cute lovey tracks are surely the soundtrack for many rom-coms to come. His sold-out night at the Tacoma Dome proved exactly how this is possible.

The night opened with James Blunt, a singer-songwriter with the same English accent and quirky, humorous personality as his headliner. His set was reminiscent of early 2000’s moody soft-rock tunes. Mixed with joking banter about how he was just using the crowd because he knew they did not spend the ticket money to see him, his set was a cute way to get the night rolling.

There’s nothing quite like the echoing screams of 23,000 Ed Sheeran fans, and they were quite the sight as well. As he opened with a hit from ÷ (Divide), his latest release, Sheeran’s fans instantly had their phones whipped out ready to record the religious experience.

One thing Sheeran obviously specializes in is love ballads, which tend to be the lastingly popular ones from each of his albums. The first classic of the night was “The A Team,” a track millions of teens proudly blasted, shouted, and cried along to from his 2011 release, + (pronounced “plus”). While that live performance brought back lots of memories from the song’s glory days, it was very powerful to see so many people belting along; from the loving couple to the crying pre-teens, to the parents and businessmen, it’s always a special moment when a single song can focus so many people in.

Sheeran’s set continued with more ballads mixed with his more upbeat hits, including highly anticipated performances of “Thinking Out Loud,” “Photograph,” and “Sing.” Coming back on stage proudly clad in a Seahawks jersey, Sheeran began his encore with “Shape of You,” the track that seems to play at least 40 times per day on every pop radio station.

While he easily could’ve ended with one of his many, many popular tracks, Sheeran took a different route and closed with “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.” It’s a song that leans a little more hip-hop and is probably less popular than others, but the complicated track with quick, witty lyrics ended up being the perfect ending. During most of his set he remained very humble and thankful for all his fans, but the final track was pretty much a middle finger to all his haters, a fun laugh to end the night.

While he’s got all these big songs and endless fame, Sheehan used no help from anyone during his live performance, remaining entirely solo. All his songs sound great live, undeniably better than over the radio, and he does it all himself with just his guitar. Hitting the body of the guitar for the drum beat, looping it with the backing vocals, and adding in whatever else he needs for each individual track, the audience gets to see each track built from the ground up. That amount of talent and creativity was perfectly suited for such a large venue, and a perfectly short and sweet performance put that on display all too well.

Review and review by Lulu Dawson

Ed Sheeran

James Blunt