Ed Sheeran ignites crowd at Verizon Center

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Ed Sheeran ignites crowd at Verizon Center

Ed Sheeran performs at the Verizon Center.

Ed Sheeran performs at the Verizon Center.

photo by Maya Rosenberg

Ed Sheeran performs at the Verizon Center.

photo by Maya Rosenberg

photo by Maya Rosenberg

Ed Sheeran performs at the Verizon Center.

By Maya Rosenberg, Social Media Editor

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Eighteen thousand people filled the Verizon Center Sept. 22 to watch flame haired singer – songwriter Ed Sheeran perform the first of his two shows in DC.

Christina Perri, the opening act, warmed up the crowd with her well known love ballad, “A Thousand Years”. The entire arena lit up from the flashlights on fans’ cell phones.

Following intermission, Sheeran came on to the stage after a short video chronicling his career over a ten year span with pictures and videos from when he first began. He opened the show with “I’m A Mess”, the second track off of his double platinum album, X. The crowd went wild as screens behind Sheeran projected his performance with added visual effects that changed depending on the song he played.

Unlike other singers, Sheeran performs with only his voice and a guitar. He uses a microphone like device called a loop pedal, which records multiple sounds and puts them on a loop to create backing tracks for his songs. Watching him create percussion sounds, play guitar, and sing vocals into the loop pedal to make the accompanying track is incredible, especially as it is done with no backing band.

“I expected him to play well, but I didn’t expect him to perform everything himself,” sophomore Maddy Kramer said.

The following song was “Drunk”, an energetic upbeat song that lifted up the crowd after “Lego House”, the third single off of his debut album. Vibrant green and white lights flashed around the arena as the audience clapped and bounced along to the joyful beat of the tune. Sheeran then led into his more rap styled song,

“I’m prepared to lose my voice if you’re prepared to lose yours,” Sheeran said in between guitar changes.

The theme of covers and Stevie Wonder continued throughout the night. Ed continued his stellar performance a few songs later with his hip hop influenced track “Don’t”. He infused Chris Brown’s hit “Loyal” and “No Diggity” into the soulful track. The entire arena sang along as

Sheeran put his all into the song supposedly about popstar Ellie Goulding cheating on him.

The night quickly passed by as Sheeran sang another cover. This time it was Nina Simone’s classic, “Feeling Good”. Sheeran stripped down the song to a simple guitar beat and his voice, and the crowd was quiet as his low rasps and high falsettos filled the air. He used this simple beat to move into “I See Fire”. This song was on the soundtrack for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and scenes from the movie filled the screens behind Sheeran.

Afterwards, he brought Perri back out to sing their duet “Be My Forever” from her sophomore album “Head Or Heart”. Perri’s mom was in the audience, and Sheeran dedicated the song to her.

During “Thinking Out Loud”, Sheeran brought out professional harmonica player Frederic Yonnet, who played with Stevie Wonder, as a special treat for the crowd. It was a beautiful, refreshing addition to the love song. Fans sang and put lights in the air as they swayed to the beat.

“The A team” was next, the song that put him on the map. It was his “last” song, but he came back on stage for an encore performance with his epic “You Need Me I Don’t Need You” and “Sing”. The crowd erupted into cheers as Sheeran took a final bow and left the stage as the house lights went up.

“I have been a big fan of his for years,” Kramer said. “The show actually exceeded my expectations.”