O2 Academy Bournemouth

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran, one of the UK’s biggest up and coming acts has got bigger than we ever could have imagined over the past year, and pretty much all over one song hailed by radio one, The A Team. After failing – and consequently sobbing – to grab tickets for his performance last year in Bournemouth at The Old Fire Station,I made it my life’s goal to see him in 2011, along with an absolutely rammed O2 Academy Bournemouth.

Arriving at 8:50pm, it was clear I was there for one man and one man only, however I did manage to catch a few songs from a cute little acoustic support act, Ryan Keen. He set a really chilled out tone for the gig, and after saying, “this has been my best gig ever”, I couldn’t help but like him. But this calm was soon broken as impatient teenage girls wanted Ed, and they wanted him now! When he walked out alone, I was not only confused but painfully excited. I knew that Ed often used a loop pedal in live recordings, but surely not for gigs – he must need a backing band? He came out, waved, bent down, and turned on the loop – this gig could only be incredible. He reminded the audience that the last time he stood on the very same stage was when he came to support Example, only reminding me that what – 12 months on – he was just as huge, if not bigger.

O2 Bournemouth: Ed Sheeran
Gallery: 1234

He played a variety of old and new, with his latest album, ‘Plus’ being released only on the 12th September 2011, yet of course, all lyrics were perfectly rehearsed by the audience. Particular highlights was a hiphop tribute were he recited the rap perfectly from Lil Kim’s, “Put Your Lighters Up”, which I felt he almost performed as a reminder that grime is where he begun and he owes allot of his success to the industry and its genres, and beautiful new song, “UNI”. However what stood out more that anything was actually a cover. For around a year now, Ed has been regularly performing Jamie Woon’s, “Wayfaring Stranger” and it has been a huge hit on YouTube. Now what made this part of the gig so very special, was not only the fact that Ed did it completely accapella, but the acoustics of what once was an Opera House really intrigued him. After asking the audience to silence (and telling one member to politely, ‘shut the **** up’) he stated, “I wanna try something”. He put down his guitar, walked away from his mic and sang, so beautifully through the peace. He stood there, front of the stage, hands behind his back, embracing the sound. Incredible.

Of course, The A Team was a big sing-along, it always was going to be, which slightly angered me. I feel as though he’s too good to be so commercialised. However, what made it that little bit more personnel was the story he chose to give before it. He spoke of how he created the song, after visiting a homeless centre. He met one lady called Angel who had something just that bit different about her, and after speaking, she had inspired the lyrics. It made it less of a standard top 10 hit, and an actual song of meaning. As I left the venue – wading through the crying teens, I genuinely felt so lucky to have attended the gig. It really was one of the best I have been too, and I wish him so much luck in the future. He has amazing things to come, and I hope through his spiralling fame, he still has the time to sit down and write the down to earth lyrics of just ‘being human’ that he does so very perfectly right now.


Review By Grace O’Grady.

Pictures used by kind permission of Charlie Raven.

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