With three sold-out dates at Glasgow’s Barrowlands later in the week following this fully-subscribed show in one of Edinburgh’s largest venues, there can be no doubt that 21-year-old Suffolk singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has hit a level of superstardom at odds with the relative brevity of his career.
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Star rating: * * *
Much of the reason for this is obvious, for Sheeran plies a brand of soppy, light-hearted pop songwriting that is at once both resonant with and manipulative of the emotions.
To see him perform on his own in the live arena, though, is to understand another crucial component of his appeal. Sheeran is unnaturally skilled and supernaturally confident for one so young, both in a manner which leaves you pleasingly convinced that he’s neither precocious nor insufferable. He seemed perfectly down to earth, in fact, as he insisted both on total silence and that nobody punch the inevitable attention-seekers and chatterboxes prior to a version of folk standard The Wayfaring Stranger.
Despite the limited format, he managed to keep things fresh, for example with a jazz experiment with Nina Simone’s Be My Husband, an appearance by support act Foy Vance for the song Kiss Me and his other support Passenger on the latter’s Hearts On Fire.
In fact, although there’s a certain flatness to some of his own solo work, big tracks like Lego House and The A Team were possessed of a certain touching sweetness that was deserving of the mainstream acclaim he’s so far gathered.