Ed Sheeran returned to France for a series of concerts earlier this month. As a spur-of-the-moment thing, my friend and I decided to buy pit tickets last year not knowing if we would be able to fly there as we were both living abroad at that time. Thankfully we could make it and we head to Paris on the 6th of July to attend Ed’s show at Le Stade de France.
Ed Sheeran is now a huge star and there’s not a single Frenchie who doesn’t like him (except for two of my friends, shame on yous). Naturally, he couldn’t book a small venue like he did the first time he performed in Paris, at La Cigale.
The concert kicks off with Anne Marie and her crazy amount of energy. The whole stadium is on fire as the Rockabye singer performs her 6 biggest hits including Ciao Adios and 2002 as well as 4 other songs from her debut album ‘Speak Your Mind‘. She immediately gets everybody singing, regularly stops her show when someone in the pit seems to be needing assistance, and doesn’t get rid of her smile once. She thanks us in French and introduces her dearest friend: Ed Sheeran.
Ed arrives on stage, out of excitement I forget to press the recording button on my phone and scream at the top of my lungs. He starts by stating that everything we will be hearing tonight will be live and that no additional musician will join him. This concert will be exactly the same as his first one in France: one man on stage accompanied with a loop pedal and a guitar; nothing more than that.
The night starts with the number-one selling single Castle on the Hill followed by Eraser. Ed stops to urge us to sing as loud as we can and dance as if no one’s watching. He assures us that concerts are a safe place and that nobody will judge us if we dance like idiots or don’t sing in tune (“there’s no such thing as not knowing how to sing, but there’s such thing as singing in tune”, he jokes).
He then performs one of his most beautiful yet heartbreaking songs The A Team (also known as the first song that plays off your phone when you plug in the aux) and reminisces about his first concert in Paris back in July 2012 (950 people and I scream). He tells us that performing at Le Stade de France is a dream come true as he used to watch the ‘98 FIFA World Cup when he was a kid (great year for France as both a host and a winner!).
Ed continues with a perfect mashup of his songs Don’t and New Man and alternates between songs from Multiply and Divide. Now it’s time for a quick anecdote, Ed notices that 2% of the crowd is not enjoying themselves and those are the super dads and the boyfriends who came along their daughters and girlfriends. He laughs and says that these guys would much rather be at home watching football (France was playing that evening!), that they don’t even like Ed’s music and that they can’t wait for the show to be over – please let it there not be an encore. Ed empathizes with the people who don’t seem to be enjoying themselves but actually do as he could be having the time of his life himself and still have a poker face.
The show resumes and Ed performs one of my all-time favourites; Galway Girl. I’m having one of the greatest time of my existence. I take just enough pictures to remember it but not too many as to enjoy the moment.
Ed doesn’t sing Lego House that he has apparently performed a few times on tour. I feel robbed. I move on. I notice that Ed still has the scar on his cheek from the night he allegedly got stabbed by a Princess.
By that time, the sun has set on the Stadium and Ed proceeds to have 60,000 people weeping as he sings Photograph followed by Perfect. Everyone is holding their phone in the air and the stadium is lit with tiny lights. He then plays Nancy Mulligan and Sing before leaving the stage.
The whole crowd is chanting and demands an encore. To our great joy (and the super dads’ and boyfriends’ dismay), Ed re-appears proudly wearing a French-team jersey as France just got qualified for the FIFA world cup’s semi-finals and will, therefore, be playing against the English team in a few days. Every single person in the stadium is cheering. Ed sings his hit song Shape of You and then the iconic extended version of You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.
Ed thanks us and… scene!
What I learned from this show is that fame didn’t change Ed. He is still the same insanely talented kid I first saw 6 years ago who can singlehandedly set a venue (a freaking stadium this time!!) on fire. This concert has been one of the best I’ve been to and I strongly suggest you buy tickets for his next tour.
Thank you, Ed. It was worth the massive pain in the legs, back and feet as well as the severe dehydration.
All pictures are mine and poorly centred as I am 5’1.