LIVE REVIEW: Ed Sheeran – Ormond Hall, 27th April 2014
5:30pm, Monday 27th April. A long line of people have gathered outside a small venue that none of them had heard of until two hours earlier. The email with the ticket information and secret instructions said to be there at five, but there’s no sign of the doors being opened. Then again, the email also said that the venue would be “very close to the CBD”. I wouldn’t exactly call 25 minutes on a tram “very close”, but still left work early in order to arrive on time. After half an hour in the drizzling rain without an umbrella, I was beginning to regret that decision.
6:00pm. The crowd has been transferred inside. Despite my proof-of-age wristband, I stay away from the bar, and find myself a sturdy piece of wall to lean against along one side of the room. From the balcony, one of the VIPs dangles his lanyard, taunting the plebs below. Fifi and Dave take to the stage to introduce this evening’s performer. To the accompaniment of some impressive screams considering the small crowd [although, about 75% of them are teenage girls], out walks Ed Sheeran.
It was a short set; only seven songs in 50 minutes, but Mr Sheeran did not fail to impress. Right off the bat he blew us all away, crafting backdrop of sound for “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”. Despite being just one man with an acoustic guitar, Sheeran is a master of the loop pedal; strumming, singing and drumming until it almost sounds as if he has a full band behind him. It took all the power within me to not openly laugh at – and then lecture – the woman in front of me who turned to her friend and complained that he couldn’t be very good because he was performing to a backing tape. These two women [let’s call them Annoying Bitch A and Annoying Bitch B] spent a good portion of the gig trying to take selfies in front of the stage – with flash – and discussing a photo of a dog that one of them had posted to her instagram feed. Based on a quick character judgement, I felt that my explanation would have been wasted on them – not because they wouldn’t have necessarily understood [although that did cross my mind] but more that they did not seem remotely interested in most of what was happening on stage.
Sheeran warned the crowd that he’d be playing mainly new material before launching into “Don’t” and that song from The Hobbit, but then he was right back into the old stuff: a song that I didn’t know [but the majority of the crowd did] and “Give Me Love” – during which he split the crowd down the middle, and had us singing a harmonised vocal accompaniment. It would have been a lovely moment had Annoying Bitches A & B not loudly made fun of myself and others in the crowd for actually going along with what the performer had asked of us.
The singalong continued with “A Team” [during which Annoying Bitch A [or possibly B – I can’t be bothered to distinguish between the two of them] showed signs of almost giving a damn – pausing their other conversation, she said to her friend, “This must be his famous song, I think I’ve heard it on the radio before.”] and then finally “Sing”. Sheeran had the crowd belting out the refrain as he left the stage, and we continued to do so for a good few minutes. The venue made no indication that there would not be an encore – they either didn’t bring up the house lights, or those lights simply weren’t bright enough] – and Sheeran hadn’t played “Lego House” yet. But as the VIPs from upstairs began to trickle back down, people slowly came to the realisation that it was over, collecting their own special lanyards on the way out the door. It was an anticlimactic ending to a short, but impressive show. It didn’t take anywhere near the three hours that the email had said to allow, but by that point, I should have worked out not to trust the email anyway.