Ed Sheeran Lights Up the Rose Bowl for His North American Tour Kick-Off

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran performs in Gothenburg, Sweden on July 11, 2018.

For a man whose songs are known for their emotional depth and serious romance, Ed Sheeran is quite lighthearted in real life. He has laugh-out-loud wit and really is the normal guy he portrays himself to be, which is ironic given he was telling jokes to his 90,000 fans at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.

“There’s always the boyfriends who don’t really want to be here,” he explained of the 2% not participating in the encouraged dancing at his concert Saturday night (Aug. 18). “Then, they stand with the other boyfriends who don’t really want to be here and talk about me like, ‘Why even was he on Game of Thrones anyway?’”

Dressed in his characteristic t-shirt and jeans, and accompanied only by his guitar and a loop pedal, the simplicity of his one-man band was what allowed the raw talent that skyrocketed him to superstardom in the first place shine through. On his first show in a string of North American tour dates, he performed a mix of favorites including “The A Team,” which he first played at the Rose Bowl back in 2010, and “Perfect,” during which the sweet lyrics echoed over a striking sea of iPhone flashlights. He also threw in some lesser-known gems, such as his favorite song to play live, “Tenerife Sea.”

The crowd was composed mostly of couples on date night, groups of preteens with parent chaperones and countless others who have been fans of the redheaded vocalist since day one. Regardless of age or scale of fandom, every concertgoer unashamedly belted the hit songs—“If you don’t know the words to this song, you might not be at the right concert,” he joked before effortlessly delivering his heart-melting smash hit, “Thinking Out Loud,” a tune that was seemingly inescapable at its peak.

By the end of the nearly two-hour set, marked by perhaps the most popular song of 2017, “Shape of You,” the fans' energy had yet to quell. They squealed and jumped to the beat at every opportunity, a tangible testament to the effect Sheeran's music has. The scene aligned perfectly with the crooner’s goal for the night: “I want you to go home drenched in sweat from dancing and with no voice from singing so loud.”

See the set list below.

Set list:
Castle on the Hill
The A Team
New Man
Tenerife Sea
Galway Girl
Feeling Good
I See Fire
Thinking Out Loud
Nancy Mulligan

Shape Of You
You Need Me, I Don’t Need You