ED GIVES US THE BEST ONE-MAN SHOW IN POP
"If you leave this gig with a voice, you have done it wrong." Everyone's favourite, chart-topping, ginger troubadour, telling it as it is. But hold on - has Ed Sheeran only brought a couple of tiny guitars along for his four-night arena stint on the docklands? Nope. You see that thing at his feet? It's a loop station. The dude's got mad concentration skills, don't you know, and he's about to give us a lesson in multi-tasking.
"I'm a mess," he sings on the opening number. Au contraire, Mr Sheeran. Five minutes in and you've already blown several thousand minds with those neat pedals of yours. There are harmonies, layered riffs, beats gone wild and trippy breakdowns. Ed's responsible for the lot. Indeed, the 23-year-old Suffolk lad (though the granny rule says he's one of us) is on fire.
Riotous He's also got a case of the man flu, warning us that his voice might disappear. It doesn't. What he presents us with is a riotous exhibition of hip-hop flavoured, acoustic pop hits, switching from maudlin heart-breaker to fearsome, tattooed rapper in the time it takes most of his peers to tie their shoelaces.
That he manages to entertain us so without straying from that centre-stage set-up of his makes it all the more astonishing.
A dishevelled melody-maker in a check shirt, commanding such crazed levels of hysteria? It must be the vocal, or that baby-faced grin of his. Those kick-ass, animated visuals also come in handy.
Two albums in, and Sheeran is annoyingly good for a bloke whose breezy songbook always comes back to girls and booze (Drunk, Bloodstream and the insanely catchy Sing). But he's very good at leading 'gospel choirs' (that's us) and building songs on the spot.
An unlikely superstar, but this is the best one-man show in pop. HHHHI