By Emilie Cruz
NEW YORK -- Fans camping overnight for the best spots in the crowd; girls FaceTime-ing best friends who couldn’t make it during their favorite song; shirts flying off and being waved over heads; and Taylor Swift gangster-leaning to “Lego House.” It could all only mean one thing: Ed Sheeran was in town, and boy, was it a night his fans will be “Thinking Out Loud” about forever.
The 80-degree weather and relentless sun -- I have the crazy farmer’s tan to prove it-- meant nothing to the countless fans who marked their territory in front of and around the block of Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City as early as 3 p.m. the day before to see Sheeran rock the stage Saturday night.
This show was the last stop of the week for Sheeran who, after playing what seemed to be a rapid-fire gig schedule on Friday with stops at the Empire State Building and Ellis Island, and premiering his “Nine Days and Nights of Ed Sheeran” documentary, has been busy promoting his album X (a.k.a. Multiply ) in the city all week. But neither he nor the fans showed any signs of fatigue.
After Finish Ticket warmed up the crowd, and BFF Taylor Swift took her seat in the balcony, Sheeran took the stage and gave the crowd exactly what they wanted: a good time, sore throats from screaming and singing and, as if we even needed it, more reasons to love the dude.
As much as I’d love to dish out every single detail from the night -- from Sheeran mixing Chris Brown’s “Loyal” with his latest song “Don’t,” to the small chuckle he couldn’t help but let out as he sang “and the crowds don’t remember my name” to a sea of people during “Thinking Out Loud” -- I settled on presenting the top three moments.
New Song, New Song, New Song!
As if we weren’t already fully invested in the show, the “Don’t” singer announced that instead of playing a song that the crowd might know, he was going to play a song that he could guarantee no one had heard yet. No word yet on whether this was a last-minute swap in the set list or just a really good introduction to get the fans going, but either way we immediately began to mentally prepare ourselves for whatever brilliance was to come.
“Photograph” is a beautiful plea to a girl to wait for the singer to come home, and keep all the memories and love close to her while he's away. There’s no decibel level that can come close to describing the shrieks of love that the song received; shrieks that were amplified when Sheeran told the crowd that the song would be one of the songs available for download this week in anticipation of his album’s release.
Taylor Swift, Y’all!
We’re sure there's no question that Taylor Swift and Ed are the most adorable besties in the music business, but if any one had any doubts, Saturday night should lay them to rest.
Jet-lagged and fresh off her 14-month Red Tour, Swift made her way to her seat in the balcony before Sheeran hit the stage. And to say she was welcomed by Sheerios would be an understatement. Cheers, screams and “OMG!!” could be heard before and after the show as Swift waved to fans. But during the show, she was on BFF duty.
We’ve all seen them: the award shows where the “Red” singer sways, leans, and hair-flips from the audience to her favorite performances, but believe me when I say, it is so much more entertaining in person! Just picture Swift gangster-leaning to the slow and beautiful “Lego House.” Go ahead, I’ll wait. You’re absolutely welcome for that entertaining visual.
Although her dance moves are questionable-yet-super-freaking-adorable, the undeniable support she has for Sheeran was on full display, and I just could not help but let out an “AWWW!”
Sea of Shirtless Sheerios?!
For his final performance, Sheeran -- who raps in “Take It Back” that he's the “only singer you don’t want to see shirtless” (not, so Ed!) -- shed his red flannel shirt. Of course, he had a printed black T-shirt on underneath but he demanded that the crowd do the same and wave their shirts in the air.
From where I was standing, I couldn’t tell if any one took it literally and showed some skin, but I will say that there were a lot of shirts flying in the air as fans sang along to “Sing.” One lucky fan even got to hold the singer’s shirt after he threw it into the crowd.