Ed Sheeran takes Sheerios across his discography at 'The +–=÷× Tour'

Ed Sheeran takes Sheerios across his discography at 'The +–=÷× Tour'

From 'Castle On The Hill' to 'Tenerife Sea'

Ed Sheeran takes Sheerios across his discography at 'The +–=÷× Tour'

The return of Ed Sheeran last Saturday night for "The +–=÷× Tour" (pronounced The Mathematics Tour) at Bangkok's Rajamangala National Stadium is particularly noteworthy.

Not only because it's the comeback of the global star six years after his Thailand debut at Impact Arena in 2017 but also because of the use of a 360° stage design where the crowd surrounded the main stage equipped with an overhead circular video display while more four video screens captured what was happening onstage. An unusual setup to allow fans to be able to experience sound and spectacle from wherever they were sitting.  

Before Sheeran took the stage, Sheerios were treated to British singer-songwriter Calum Scott, who did more than warm the audience up but gave us a proper show. The lights went off before the circular screen above the main stage lingered on Scott's band members before he showed up on the stage. He kicked off his nine-song set with Lighthouse on an anthemic and uplifting note. Across his 40-minute show, Scott impressed the audience with sentimental big ballads, as well as dancier tunes i.e. Whistle, his collab with Jax Jones, and Where Are You Now, his collab with Lost Frequencies. Scott's vocal prowess was particularly evident as he raised the notes, as well as the audience's arm hair in Biblical and Run With Me. The audience responded with a sea of mobile phone lights across the stadium and thundering applause, leaving Scott with teary eyes. He capped off his slot with his cover of Robyn's Dancing On My Own, which earned him a Britain's Got Talent golden buzzer and his big break back in 2015. He dropped a few Thai phrases — the icing on the impressive set.

The crowd had about 30 minutes to prepare before the main event. The circular video display showed a five-minute countdown as the crowd eagerly waited for Sheeran to take the stage. They went wild when Sheeran, who wore a black T-shirt with Bangkok spelt on the front, launched into pop-rock Tides, the first track from "=", and they didn't fail to sing along to the acapella chorus part of the song. Sheeran shifted into high gear as the first firework and flame jet of the night aptly signalled the start of angrier Blow. The fifth single off of his No.6 Collaborations Project had the fans cheering and screaming throughout before it was capped off with more flame jets and fireworks.  

Sheeran got on a rotating platform to earnestly perform I'm A Mess next while being slowly rotated around the main stage like he was on a lazy Susan. The bridge and outro part of the song was rousing and spellbinding, accented with trippy visuals and stage lights changing colours, before Sheeran's last word of the song reverberated across the stadium.

The catchy guitar chords signalled the start of chart-topper dance-pop Shivers from his fifth album "=", before Sheeran treated day-one Sheerios with The A Team, a folk ballad inspired by an 'angel' he met at a homeless shelter from his debut album "+". The song that started it all for Sheeran was beautifully melodic despite its NC-17 content.

Sheeran shifted the mood with guitar-driven pop Castle On The Hill which got fans to stand up, clap and sing along. Sheeran then showcased his rapping skill with Don't from his second album "x" next, before fast forwarding to folk-pop Eyes Closed, from his fifth album, which dropped last year. The latter had fans join him on the "Eye-eye-eye-eyes closed" part without fail. 

Next Sheeran took fans back to where he started again with Give Me Love, the last single from his debut album, but with an extended outro during which he asked fans to join him as a choir. Boat was a quieter and more emotive moment of the show before he performed the break-up anthem Punchline from his latest album Autumn Variations, which he released through his own record label. 

Sheeran is known for many memorable collabs and he treated the audience to a medley of five of them namely River (with Eminem), Peru (with Fireboy DML), Beautiful People (with Khalid), South Of The Border (with Camila Cabello and Cardi B) and I Don't Care (with Justin Bieber). I Don't Care ended the section with such a celebratory vibe before Sheeran continued with Overpass Graffiti and Celestial, the latter of which is a collab with the media franchise Pokémon. No, Pikachu did not make a surprise appearance. 

Sheeran, who grew up in an Irish upbringing, paid tribute to his heritage with Galway Girl, a fun blend of pop and Irish folk music, complete with psychedelic visuals and a firework finish in, you've guessed it, orange and green. 

Sheeran joked that if anyone doesn't know the next song, then they're at the wrong concert. Thinking Out Loud was definitely one of the night's highlights as the stadium was lit with countless smartphone flashlights while the circular display above the stage showed a couple, who is made of light dots, slow dancing. He asked the audience to be the loudest crowd in Asia by screaming the chorus towards the song's end which they enthusiastically obliged.

The crowd didn't get a break from a screaming frenzy as Sheeran performed a cover of  Bieber's Love Yourself, which Sheeran wrote. The audience on the ground level promptly stood up and enthusiastically sang along. Sing, Sheeran's chart-topper and upbeat lead single from his second studio album "×", was served next showcasing both his falsetto and rapping. 

The stadium got quiet again for an acoustic and spellbinding rendition of Photograph as the sea of flashlights returned. Next, Sheeran performed Tenerife Sea beautifully and yearningly, featuring his best vocal moments and giving the audience another emotive moment. The love fest reached a peak with Perfect where screams coming from the stands cut through the enthusiastic singalong when a couple took the song as an opportunity to pop the question. Congrats to the couple in the E1N zone!

Next, Sheeran did a 180 with rousing and moodier Bloodstream (it's born out of his MDNA experience after all) as all the lights turned red before he "ended" the show with Afterglow in a mellow mood.  

He changed into a Thai national football jersey, the same gesture he did at his previous Thai concert, before returning to the stage for an encore. He sent fans off with three more songs namely You Need Me, I Don't Need You, Shape Of You and Bad Habits.

He delivered You Need Me, I Don't Need You with such high energy despite it being his 24th song of the night and we were more than two hours into the concert. The crowd didn't seem to miss a word of Shape Of You before Sheeran capped the memorable night off with Bad Habits along with a firework-and-flame-jet finale, which probably caught many by surprise as the song doesn't end in a way that you would expect such a fanfare. 

Fans showered Sheeran with deafening cheer and thundering applause before he thanked the audience, wished them a safe return home and bid goodbye.  

Sheeran was a true music machine for performing and powering through 26 songs (counting the medley as one) on the night when the weather wasn't kind while taking Sheerios on a journey across his diverse discography as the tour's title promises.  

His earnest and energetic performance (presumably helped by Jae Fai's crab omelette and Thip Samai's pad Thai he had earlier that day), great light and visual design, as well as flame jet and fireworks left Sheerios looking forward to his next return.

I mean, he has to come back, if he wants Ajarn Neng's holy tattoo properly touched up. 

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