This weekend we were amongst the tens of thousands of people who descended on Croke Park to see Ed Sheeran for his two sold-out shows.
We had pitch standing tickets for Saturday and since we arrived early enough, we managed to get up pretty close! There was a VIP section at the front so we weren’t able to get right up to the stage but we still had amazing views. As time went on, we could see the whole venue fill up more and more behind us — in the end, over 80,000 people showed up that night!
Things kicked off early enough as support act Jamie Lawson took to the stage at 6pm. Although we weren’t too familiar with his music, we still enjoyed it and since he’s the first artist signed to Ed’s own record label, I’m sure we’ll all get to know him soon enough!
Shortly afterwards, Dublin group Bell X1 came on. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t realise they were still together. Back when I was a teen, I had a few of their songs on my iPod and they’re really good — the kind you remember, as it turned out, the second you hear them years later!
By 8pm the stage was empty and the stadium was almost full. As the minutes ticked by, you could just feel the anticipation growing. At exactly half eight, the screens lit up with a fast-paced montage of pictures of the main act from childhood to present day. Then he walked out on stage and the crowd went crazy :-).
As soon as he started to sing, thousands of people were joining in. As he spoke, every sentence was greeted with cheers and elated screams. With promises like “if you’re prepared to lose your voice, then I’m prepared to lose mine” and strong encouragement to sing and dance like idiots, Ed had our full attention for the night.
Some of the songs in the first half of the set included the classic Small Bump; his most recent release Photograph and the hauntingly beautiful I See Fire (which was hands-down my favourite song of the night!).
Then, like had been done when Ed first came on-stage, the crowd erupted all over again as Dublin band Kodaline appeared. They performed their massive hit All I Want to a completely enthralled audience. Then Glen Hansard joined in. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t immediately recognise him and when I did figure out who he was; I only knew him from the film Once. To be fair, I’d say when it came to knowing who he was, it was 50:50 with the crowd — Glen himself joked that someone had asked him if he was Ed’s granddad! All three acts then performed Molly Malone and The Auld Triangle together. It was brilliant and the surprises didn’t stop there as Kodaline’s bassist called his girlfriend on to the stage and got down on one knee! I have a little video clip of the big moment on Instagram if you’d like to check it out.
With the stage back to himself, Ed broke in to Thinking Out Loud. This single has broken records for spending over a year in the charts. Some say it’s overplayed and people bemoan that it’s the only song couples want for their first dance but really…it’s just so beautiful! When you hear it sung live, it’s even better (L and I are seriously considering having it for our own big day!). Several other tracks including A-Team followed after. He also did some seriously impressive rapping, sampling the likes of 50 Cent, Iggy Azalea and more.
Towards the end of the show, Ed disappeared off stage and returned sporting a Wexford GAA jersey. His final performance of the night was his 2014 hit Sing. He introduced this song as being one he wrote specifically for Croke Park so that unsurprisingly went down pretty well!
All in all, it was an incredible show. Ed already has a well established reputation as a nice guy but I still couldn’t get over how humble he seemed and how he was so clearly happy and grateful to be up there on-stage. He has so much talent and it’s really lovely to see him being so well received. I’d happily go to see him again — and I think that the 160,000 plus fans that saw him over this weekend would say the same!