Fresh from adding to his tally of Ivor Novello Awards at a ceremony where he was his own toughest competition for “most performed work”, the ubiquitous Ed Sheeran arrived in Glasgow for a three-night stand with a backstage camera tracking his stroll to the stage. It was the walk of an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances.
Ed Sheeran, Hampden Park, Glasgow ***
In fact, the only remarkable thing about this gig was the sheer size of it. Sheeran effectively commanded the crowd as he has always done, busker-style, with just acoustic guitar and loop pedal, only now with added stadium-sized visuals.
He’s so unstarry that he was practically outperformed by the BSL interpreter in the south stand who was having a ball acting out his lyrics and playing (left-handed) air guitar.
This was strictly inoffensive middle-of-the-road fare for folks having quite a nice time in Sheeran’s pleasant company, thank you very much. The hypnotic layered vocals and spacey strumming of Bloodstream was as close to experimental and psychedelic as Ed gets.
Otherwise the set list majored on a succession of bleeding heart ballads provoking much contented swaying in the ranks. Banal though they are, these songs have entered the public consciousness but fans of Sheeran’s funkier material were made to wait until the last gasp for the polite party finish of Sing, Shape Of You and the endlessly jammed-out mantra of You Need Me, I Don’t Need You. Five stars for the BSL interpreter though.