Back in Spain, I met and fell in love with the music of Ed Sheeran. After a weekend of Sangria and Tapa-tasting, I was exploring Youtube when I stumbled upon one of his videos and have been hooked ever since. His songs were the soundtracks to many of my trips around Europe. On a sunny weekend at the end of September, I finally got the chance to see him live. It was worth the wait.
The concert was held in Philly’s historic Penn’s Landing area at the Great Plaza. The outdoor venue rests on the edge of the Delaware River. Concerts take place here year round but I think this time of the year is the best. It’s not uncomfortably hot and sticky like it is in Summer but it’s still nice enough to go without a jacket.
It’s a freestanding arena with plenty of raised seating so you don’t have to force yourself into the middle of the crowd to have a decent view. My recommendation would be to grab a drink, claim the spot of your choice, and enjoy your show as the sun is setting.
If you follow the river, you’ll eventually clear the venue space and reach the truly touristy part of the waterfront. Here, hotdog carts and rent by the hour duck boats abound.
Opening up for Ed Sheeran were Passenger and Selah Sue . I missed Selah Sue’s performance so I can’t comment much on her. Passenger ,however, emitted a very chill and kind of indie feel. My favorite moment of his performance was when he preferenced one of his songs with a story about his experiences traveling. He met an old man who, along with his wife had been planning a trip around the world. After planning for decades, they finally had the means and time to start their adventure. Sadly, his wife died shortly before they were to leave. Instead of writing off a life long dream, the man went traveling around the world solo. I thought that it was interesting that the topic of traveling found me here of all places, less than 25 minutes from where I was born.
Since returning to States, I’ve been looking for opportunities to travel more and if anything, Passenger’s speech reminded me of how rejuvenating travel can be and that , even in the worst of situations, it is possible.
Now on to Ed. As he himself says, he built his audience by selling CD’s from a rucksack and networking on sites like Youtube. Listening to him live, with the sun just setting and a breeze drifting off the Delaware River, is much better than anything you’ll find on a computer screen.
Ed uses no background music or musicians. His stage setup consists of two microphones; one to sing in and one that records all the necessary background ad-libs and music and immediately plays it back. Occasionally using his guitar to drum out a beat, Ed managed to hold an audience for an entire two hours completely on his own. I’ve never seen that at any show before.
I have to say that this is one of the most eventful shows I’ve been to. Instead of rambling on as I usually do, I’ll list the top moments that made the show worthwhile.
5 Top Moments of My Night at the Ed Sheeran Show
5. Ed’s a sweetie. During the show a girl near the front passed out. Ed stopped the show to get security’s attention, and after not being allowed to go into the audience to help, he left the stage to see her. After returning, he gave us an update on her before picking up the guitar.
4.Ed seemed a little annoyed by it but just after the sunset fireworks started going off across the river. The loud booming did throw off the tempo a bit but how often do you get to listen to one of your favorite songs being sung by one of your favorite singers against the backdrop of pretty sparkling lights? On the plus side, he played a few extra songs to make up for it.
3. Getting to hear Selah Sue when she and Passenger joined Ed for a rendition of “Heart’s on Fire.” The song itself is super quiet. It’s the kind that can play in the background for hours without becoming annoying or overwhelming. The lyrics attest to long lasting love and Selah Sue’s wispy voice blended in perfectly.
2. Ed breaking into the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. I mentioned before that whenever I told people in Europe my family was from Philadelphia they always went, “Ahh! Fresh Prince, no?” Some , like a gentleman in Granada, Spain, even started to sing the song. It’s funny that this city is so closely associated with a theme song.
1. The 15 minute version of ” You Need Me”. This is the song that officially made me an Ed fan. The live version of the up-tempo song is filled with extra verses and allotted sing along moments. The entire time is spent anticipating the most iconic line of the song and when you finally get to it, it’s a pretty satisfying moment.