Live Reports

Ed Sheeran in Brussels: more a prince than a king

Ed Sheeran Brussels

Ed Sheeran. Coldplay. Rolling Stones. Brussels is the new capital for the biggest acts in the world when they come in Belgium. The King Baudouin Stadium also got Rammstein before the pandemic. For 2 evenings, Ed Sheeran played his new songs live for 60+ people. It was great but not the show of the year…

About 58k people were in the stadium on this first evening to see the British singer. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to arrive on time for the 2 opening acts. Just arrived in time for Ed Sheeran and the first thing we saw his central stage and the many screens around. Which looks sick on pictures… but is not so cool live.

With 5 screens around the central stage – which got also a big screen on the top – and the few spots around where the other musicians were sometimes playing, there was tons of obstacles for people to have a good view on the stage and so on Ed Sheeran. On the floor, there were so many barriers, it gave the feeling it was not easy to find a good spot and that it was smaller than usual. Usually, when you’re on the floor, you have a direct view on the stage – if you don’t have someone taller than you just in front. We were in the first part of sitting places and got the tower of a screen just in front of us. Other people sitting/standing in other places also complained about it. It sucks, especially with the high price on the stadium shows.

That being said, let’s focus on the music. The singer of 31 years old was there to promote its last album with his Mathematics Tour and despite the shitty weather – he discovered the real Belgian rain during the summer -, he kept his smile. If I felt on stage, please don’t post it on the social networks, just laught, said him at the beginning of the show.

He started the show with his musicians – none of them was on the Main Stage – with the songs Tides and Blow, the most powerful songs of the set. Maybe could he do more rock songs in this next album? When we saw Blow live and his new version of Bad Habits with Bring Me The Horizon… Before continuing the show alone, he explained to the noobies that he’s doing all his music with loops on his pedals and doesn’t use any backing tracks. Everything’s real, done live and all shows are different.

During 2h, he’ll deliver tons of huge hits but also some less known songs. The atmosphere will then have some ups and downs. Some songs were literally on fire as he brought pyro on his huge moving central stage. The songs who got the best reaction are obviously the old ones: Galway Girl, Sing, Perfect and the duo Shape Of You / Bad Habits during the encore. An encore had made with a t-shirt of the foot Belgian team – like the bassist of Fall Out Boy did in Antwerp one more before. But what’s a bit sad about his way to play songs live is the rythm for some is a bit too fast: Perfect didn’t have the same romantic live at all and Shivers didn’t sound as good as the album version.

Do you know the common thing between Ed Sheeran and Stick To Your Guns live?! They both speak a lot! But if the hardcore band – through his frontman Jesse Barnett – likes to speak about politics and societal subjects, Ed Sheeran likes to speak about his music and career: anecdotes about songs he wrote and played in front of 10 people and now play them in front of more then 60k people, songs he wrote for other artists and send them while he was drunk like Love Yourself for Justin Bieber, the fact that the European audience listen to what he said between songs compared to the UK where people go grab a beer when the speeches are too long.

Tonight, he proves that he has the level to play in stadium – even if he struggled to sold out the second night – and got big singles. Unfortuntaly, the live version of some songs aren’t the best – played too fast or just to calm to be played live. A good show but not the show of the year – even in this stadium.

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