Concert Review: Ed Sheeran Woos Fans, Dons Blue Kurta and India Cricket Jersey for Mumbai Show
The British singer-songwriter live looped, rapped and sang his way through the highly-anticipated evening
On Sunday, November 19th, a clear and surprisingly cool day in Mumbai, Ed Sheeran played his second India concert as part of his Divide Tour. While some attendees started lining up almost an hour before the venue–Jio Garden in BKC–opened its gates, others got their drink on at nearby pubs: Capital Social, SodaBottleOpenerWala and Dive.
Everyone from pre-teen fans accompanied by their parents, to mid twenty-something-year-olds, to middle aged folks filled up the venue’s three zones: Diamond, Gold and Silver. While those in the Diamond zone had the privilege of being right up against the stage with a big concert screen, the Silver pass holders didn’t have any screens near their zone, which was quite a distance away from the stage. The organizers should have definitely installed a screen or two for the Silver zone ticket holders.
Besides the lack of screens at the venue, the organization of the concert was quite smooth. The entrance for each zone was clearly marked on boards around the venue and the washrooms and food and beverage counters were easy to locate. There was also a merchandize stall selling Sheeran’s T-Shirt and hoodies, and most importantly, a first aid sector.
Lauv got everyone pumped before the big moment
American musician Ari Leff a.k.a. Lauv, who has been supporting Sheeran on the Asia leg of his Divide Tour, took to the stage at 7 pm and performed an energetic opening set. The guitarist-keyboardist was accompanied by drummer Rob Ernst for his performance. Lauv played the electronic track “A Different Way,” which he recorded with French producer DJ Snake. He also managed to break a guitar string midway through his set and said, “This was the first string I’ve broken on this tour.” After singing his pop track “Easy Love,” the musician really got the crowd in the mood when he performed his stand out song “I Like Me Better.”
Sheeran steps up
At 8 pm sharp, Sheeran walked on stage to a rapturous applause from his Indian fans. He sported a fancy blue kurta, which had his third album title, Divide, written on the back in Hindi. The British singer-songwriter wasted little time before heading straight into his pulsating hit single off Divide, “Castle On The Hill,” which had everyone singing along. Some were in a tizzy and couldn’t believe that the two-time Grammy Award winner was on stage. Sheeran announced his excitement at being back in India (he last performed in the country in 2015) and then dove into the hip-hop acoustic track “Eraser” followed by the mellow “A Team” off his first record Plus.
Before moving on to the rest of his set, the singer-songwriter had a few words for his Indian fans, saying, “It’s such a pleasure to be back in India, I’m really really excited. This is one of my top three countries in the world.” Sheeran then explained what he usually does when he attends shows: “I’m quite a boring concert goer. This is me at a concert [Impersonates himself standing in one place].” The singer-songwriter stated that he does that because he’s embarrassed of someone thinking that he’s weird if he dances awkwardly. “I find it weird that I do that, because at my own shows I want the crowd to have as much fun. What I’ve realized from standing up here is that everyone faces the stage, so you can dance as weirdly as you want.”
The Brit vocalist-guitarist then broke out into the groovy and catchy “Don’t” off his second album Multiply and mashed the song up with his charming tune “New Man,” while all kinds of emoticons flashed across the screen. Next, Sheeran toned it down with the melancholic “Dive” and sang along with the audience. The singer-songwriter hilariously also paid tribute towards the boyfriend who was forced to tag along but didn’t really want to be there and to the “super dad” who showed up just so he could keep a watchful eye on his daughter before jumping right into the saccharine “Bloodstream.”
After taking everyone sky high with his sing-a-long and spitting bars on “Galway Girl,” Sheeran brought his fans back down to earth with the subdued “How Would You Feel (Paean)” which featured his tour crew member P.J. Smith on piano. The musician marched on with his set, which included “Photograph,” his ode to his grandparents ”Nancy Mulligan” and his two love ballads “Perfect” and “Thinking Out Loud,” even pulling out an electric guitar while performing the latter. Sheeran then announced his last song for the evening, “Sing,” in which a puppet version of him features in the song’s music video. Everyone tested their vocal skills with the song’s catchy chorus. When Sheeran disappeared off stage, the crowd continued singing.
He was back in a jiffy, however, this time sporting an India cricket jersey. Sheeran belted into his encore set with the most popular and in-demand song off his third record “Shape Of You.” The first few opening keyboard notes sent the entire venue into a screaming frenzy. Fans finally got to hear the track they’d been craving, but Sheeran wasn’t done yet and had one more tune up his sleeve. The singer-songwriter pushed forward with his magnum opus, “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” from Plus. He put on a class display of energy and talent, rapping, singing, dancing, clapping, showcasing plenty of brilliant guitar work, using his guitar as a percussion instrument and jumping from one end of the stage to the other all in one go.
Needless to say, Sheeran’s second India concert was a tremendous success with a capacity crowd of 10,000 people all going home with huge grins on their faces after watching their hero blaze through a fantastic set for 110 minutes. We hope Sheeran returns to Indian shores soon. Since his die-hard fans expressed a rousing appreciation for his art, we’re sure it won’t be too long before he does.
All photos by Amol Raval-RVR16