When you go for an Ed Sheeran concert, Ed Sheeran is all you get.
No band, no backup singers… just one ginger-haired singer-songwriter on stage with his guitar and his loop pedal.
Then again, who needs a band when you’re such a wizard with the said loop pedal?
Apart from pianist PJ Smith coming on stage for How Would You Feel (Paean), Sheeran was the only one on stage throughout his concert at the Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil on Tuesday, but what a one man band he turned out to be.
From the minute he literally bounded on stage and launched into Castle On The Hill, Sheeran kept the entire arena enthralled with not just his energy and singing, but the way he constructed the beats, the backing vocals, and the rhythm of each song all by himself with the loop pedal.
As he added each layer of beats and vocals to form the song, it was like watching a Lego Master Builder in action. And more often than not, the result was astounding.
Say what you want about his mass-friendly pop music, watching him perform the songs live is a spectacle in itself.
It’s not just the technical wizardry on display – the 26-year-old is just a joy to watch, with his boundless energy, his crowd-pleasing banter, and of course, those oh-so-singable tunes.
Heck, he didn’t look at all like someone who had broken both arms in a cycling accident just last month.
“It’s really, really, good to be back. I broke my arms a few weeks back. Not being able to play music is the worst thing to happen to a musician, so I’m really happy to be back,” he said during the concert.
This being part of his world tour to promote latest album ÷ (pronounced Divide), the bulk of the setlist came from that album, with songs like Happier, Perfect, Dive, and How Would You Feel (Paean) getting some of the night’s biggest singalongs. And that’s not even including hugely popular ballads like Thinking Out Loud, Photograph, I See Fire and The A-Team.
It wasn’t just the ballads that got the fans going though – the faster numbers, including Sing, Galway Gal, Eraser and You Need Me, I Don’t Need You got them dancing and even rapping along.
The highlight of the night had to be Perfect, which started out quietly, and then soaring higher and higher with Sheeran adding layer upon layer of backing vocals and beats as the crowd sang along, finally ending with one of the most resoundingly passionate climaxes to a ballad you’ll ever hear live.
By the time he ended the concert with Sing, and the two-song encore of Shape Of You and extended version of You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, it was safe to say that his Malaysian fans had well and truly got their money’s worth.
Not bad for a show featuring just one man, his guitar and his loop pedal.