Ed Sheeran leaves 80,000 swooning at Croke Park

Singer is joined on stage by Kodaline as he encourages crowd to ‘dance like idiots’


The ‘No Selfie Stick’ warning from Croke Park officials in advance of the Ed Sheeran concert in the GAA Headquarters certainly didn’t put a stop to selfies in the stadium.

Teenage girls and their mothers took over the stadium, brought an abundance of flower crowns with them, and not everyone heeded Croke Park’s advice to wear sensible shoes.

Over the last decade the West Yorkshire born singer-songwriter has spent a lot of time crashing on friends’ couches while trying to make it big, and you wouldn’t be surprised if he admitted he had rolled from one of those couches to the stage in Croke Park on Friday night.

It’s just Sheeran, his trademark mop of messy red hair, and his acoustic guitar. And yet, his every utterance was greeted by swooning shrieks from audience. His lyrics suggest he’s got a lot of love to pour into someone, and it certainly sounds like much of the 80,000 people here wouldn’t mind volunteering for the role.

Croke Park night #1 !

A photo posted by @teddysphotos on

He arrives on stage, performing with just his guitar and a loop pedal, for what is essentially a very large scale busking session by someone who could be just a friendly chap from down the road.

The audience’s attention rarely wavers, even when he announces he’s going to play Take It Back, an extra track on the deluxe edition of his album X. But even then, there’s no need for pyrotechnics, elaborate costume changes or special effects.

Sheeran was 2014’s biggest selling global male solo recording artist and Spotify’s most streamed artist. He has won an Ivor Novello and 41 awards after that and has been the Irish Top 10 Albums for a consecutive 57 weeks – including 13 weeks at number one.

However, unfussily dressed in jeans, runners and a check shirt, he looks small on the stage at Croke Park. While Sheeran doesn’t go in for the show that many of his contemporaries put on, he doesn’t really need to. He’s essentially a one-man band, but for someone so unassuming, he’s a great showman. He knows how to please a crowd.

Rumours that Bono would be joining him on stage were put to rest earlier yesterday by Sheeran himself, but when Kodaline showed up to sing All I Want, the crowd went as mental as Sheeran kept insisting all Irish crowds are.

“Sing out of tune, dance like an idiot, I don’t care as long as you’re having fun… For the next few hours it’s my job to entertain you. For the next few hours, your job is to be entertained. By the end of this show, we all should have lost our voices,” he screamed.

There will be some fans left with hoarse voices alright, but those going along to Saturday night’s second sold-out show can rest assured that Sheeran’s voice more than survived the evening.