Latitude: Ed Sheeran review

EVERYTHING seems to have been going Ed Sheeran’s way in his rise to music stardom in recent months.

Today, the summer turned against him in his Suffolk homeland, but the rising star and his throng of fans at the Latitude Festival barely seemed to care.

Opening up the Obelisk Arena at 1.30pm in a deluge of rain, Sheeran delivered exactly the type of polished set that become expected of him. In fact, he is still doing many of the songs he was playing to half a dozen people in a corner of a pub a couple of years ago.

He mentioned his home town of Framlingham, his family, told the story of his top 3 hit The A Team and led a succession of singalongs with a devoted horde of soaked fans at the front, who roared every word back at him.

The only thing he didn’t mention was the rain, which probably lost him a few hundred people to the Word Arena, where 80s icon Adam Ant was puffing through a host of hits that topped the charts before Sheeran was born.

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Rapper Mikill Pane joined the set for a rap in The A Team, but otherwise it was just the singer, his guitar and his loop pedals, commanding a huge stage with relative ease. He repeatedly asked for a “hell yeah” and a “hallelujah” - from one extreme to the other - and he got them, even from those huddled under umbrellas far out from the stage.

There was a sense of achievement in his performance. This was the biggest crowd he had ever played to, he said. Four years ago people told him to give up the rapping and beatboxing in his songs, he pointed out. And now here he was introducing a song that is heavy on both, signature tune You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, as his next single, set for the top end of the charts, no doubt.

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Sheeran rattled through his set so quickly he was shoved back onstage for another five minutes, accidentally granting himself an encore. For that he did a cover of Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love, which he dedicated to his dad John, who looked on from the wings.

The rain carried on for the full set but it didn’t seem to matter. A homecoming and a triumph. His biggest crowd yet but it won’t before there are bigger. Don’t expect to ever see him play this early on a festival bill again.

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