Ten reasons why Ed Sheeran needs to slow the heck down

He’s starting to act like the megastar that he is.

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Dear Ed:

Loved your concert at Arrowhead Stadium. Really great show as per usual. I appreciated the changes you made to the setlist since your 2017 arena tour, which provided returning fans like us with some variety. Everyone, for example, needs to hear “Tenerife Sea” performed live, so thank you.

But… and I hesitate to say this because it was such an awesome show, but at times, there was a little too much “star power” in the air. Things seemed a little rushed, a little hurried. But just at times, though. Were you bored? (That’s understandable.) Had you performed a few fan favorites a few too many times? (Probably.)

So before you pack your bags and set out for Brazile to continue the tour in February, think about slowing things down a smidge. Here are ten reasons why you might want to do that…

1. Because a stadium concert is not a race. You are not being timed. While you may have performed your setlist 3476249 times on this tour, your fans (most of them, anyway) will only hear it once. Respect that.

2. Because “Perfect” is only perfect when it’s performed perfectly. This ballad recently spent its 52nd week on Billboard’s Hot 100. It may feel dated to you, but it’s still fresh to thousands. Don’t rush the soul You know this.

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The Wibbles, Ed’s cats on Instagram.

3.  Because if you slowed down, you might be able to figure out a way to include live cats in your show. You know you want to.

4. Because if you would just slow the heck down, you might know where you are. And then you wouldn’t have referred to us several times as “Kansas.” I wasn’t going to mention this not-so-minor detail, but you should know that it was a little irritating because you were actually in Missouri. But I get it. Long tour. Different city every night. Okay, done on that one.

5. Because those moments during the concert when you casually talked at length to the audience were the best. More of that, please. The part about the two groups of men in attendance, disinterested boyfriends and super dads? Kinda true and kinda funny.

6. Because “Thinking Out Loud” deserves better. Don’t speed through this song for the ages. After all, this is the only Ed Sheeran song that many poor, misguided souls can name. Don’t disappoint them (even though they deserve it, dang it, for not knowing your full repertoire.)

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Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium fills up prior to the show.

7. Because if you slowed down, you might think about performing some earlier songs from Plus or Multiply. Runaway? Nina? The Man? But thanks again, by the way, for that sparkling performance of “Tenerife Sea.” That song truly is one of your best-of-all-times. The silence that enveloped Arrowhead was key, and I’m glad everyone obliged (okay, except for that one guy) when you asked for quiet so we could hear every note.

8. Because seeing you leave was a little harsh. Your exit felt like the ultimate brush-off. As you descended the ramp, you simultaneously tossed your mic, shrugged off your Chiefs jersey, disappeared into your waiting SUV, and sped away to the next gig. And you did all that in less than ten seconds. That hurt, Ed.

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Ed in flannel, back when flannel was his thing. Photo: Drew de F Fawkes–Ed Sheeran, V Festival 2014, Chelmsford, CC by 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52317768

9. Because if you slowed down, you might be able, for old times’ sake (or just for me), to throw on a flannel shirt. After all, it was mid-October… prime flannel season. If I was ever to see you perform live in your signature flannel, October was it. Oh, well. Your layered Hoax t-shirt was fine, I guess.

And the final reason you need to slow the heck down…

10. Because many of your fans suspect you’re readying yourself for another long hiatus from the stage, social media, and society in general. Face it: many of your fans still suffer flashbacks from 2016, the first time you did this. Even though I understand the break helped you stay grounded and sober, please slow down and think hard before evaporating again. True, a break would allow you time to create your next album, and I’m all for that, so if a hiatus is what you need, then go for it.

That’s it. Those were my ten mostly serious reasons to slow down, Ed. Three points to summarize: 1) give your songs (and your fans) the attention and time they deserve, 2) star power does not become you, and 3) cats.


Thanks for reading! Click like if you enjoyed this post and feel free to leave a comment. Here are two links to my other Ed Sheeran concert reviews.

T-Shirts Work, Too |  Ed Sheeran 2017 Divide Arena Tour Review

The First Time I Met Ed Sheeran | Ed Sheeran 2015 Multiply Concert Tour Review

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I’ll See Him Again Tonight in KC, but for Now… The First Time I Met Ed Sheeran

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“Ed Sheeran @ Wembley 2” by Flickr user Mark Kent used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license

Okay, I didn’t meet him meet him. I just met him, and by that I mean I saw him in concert on May 10, 2015. From across the enormous Scottrade Center arena in St. Louis, to be exact, I met the artist who I have since learned is one of the hardest-working musicians performing today. And that’s the main reason why I’m an Ed Sheeran fan.

Even though Ed and I met on Mother’s Day two years ago, going to see his Multiply concert wasn’t originally intended to be a Mother’s Day outing for my daughter and I. Several months before, my daughter had purchased two tickets for herself and a friend without realizing that the day of the concert was also the day of her college’s graduation exercises. So the friend she had originally asked couldn’t go. Turns out her friend just had to graduate or something. So I went instead. It was Mother’s Day after all, we both agreed, as we took the four-hour drive north to St. Louie, as Ed put it.

Before going to the concert, I really wasn’t familiar with Ed. Even though I had given my daughter his Plus and Multiply CDs as Christmas gifts, I didn’t understand his music or his performing style. I didn’t understand that when you go to an Ed Sheeran concert, you are going to a concert starring Ed Sheeran. And no one else. There is no band, no backup singers, no other musicians. There is one exception: his guitar technician, who would, after each song, walk out to Ed, take his guitar and hand him a new one with the capo placed, or the strings tuned, for the next song. Sometimes the guitar tech just handed Ed a new guitar in exchange for the one he had just destroyed. Yes, Ed Sheeran, king of the exquisitely-worded love ballad, can destroy a guitar. Into several pieces.

This happened onstage, in the heat of the concert. Ed transformed many songs from their original three- to four-minute length to 15- to 20-minutes. And this is when Ed revealed his alter-ego, when his guitar also functioned as a drum and he beat on it with his fists and the palms of his hands to take any song and morph it into a raucous, mind-blowingly loud tour de force accompanied by giant backdrops that exploded with psychedelic patterns, colors, and images to add a visual element to the audible. He did this with “Runaway”, “Bloodstream”, “I See Fire” and other numbers.

Still, the Ed that everybody knows and loves does dominate the show. Especially when he returns smartly  and consistently to his specialty: the songs that first come to mind when you think of Ed Sheeran: “Thinking Out Loud,” “Photograph,” “The A Team,” and “Lego House.” These songs surprisingly thrive in the presence of thousands. Maybe it’s because of the darkened arena when Ed asks everyone to turn on their smartphone lights. Thousands of lights dot the arena like the starriest sky as seen from an isolated prairie.  The stars gently sway in rhythm to the music, and to the one man singing alone onstage.

To accomplish his one-man band, Ed uses a loop pedal, a device that records and layers chord progressions, riffs, vocals, beats, and other musical components until the song, in all its complexity, is pulsing out of the speakers while, all alone on that big stage, Ed plays the last layer of guitar live and sings his beautiful songs.

So, thanks to my daughter, I’m a big fan of Ed Sheeran. It’s fun to attempt to play some of his songs, the tabs for which I find online or on Youtube.  Thankfully, some arrangements are doable for a guitar novice like me. Some, clearly, are not. Ed Sheeran definitely has a gift for songwriting and guitar playing. He would tell you, as he does in his autobiography, A Visual Journey, that it’s not so much a gift as simply a product of hard work and practice. Ahhh… music to my motherly ears. An artist with the work ethic to match his ambition.

Now that’s an artist that I, as an adult, can admire. I really like Ed Sheeran. I mean, I don’t like him like him. I just like him.


My daughter and I will see Ed again tonight at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. I’ll fill you in on how things go in an upcoming post.