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  • Jenna Barton

Ed Sheeran - Mathematics Tour in Chicago

Ed Sheeran announced his North American leg of his latest tour around October last year, before it officially kicked off in the beginning of May 2023. This is Ed's fourth concert tour, which has been referred to as the mathematics tour. Featuring a collection of his previous albums titled with +,–,=,÷, and x, this tour is set to end at the end of September and is supported with special guests: Russ, Cat Burns, Rosa Linn, Khalid, and Maisie Peters. I saw Ed during his stop in Chicago, playing at the home arena of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. This massive arena can hold tens of thousands of fans, and shortly after making his way on stage, Ed announced that he had broken a new record of reaching the highest attendance at the venue with over 73,000 fans. The impressive four level stadium on the lakefront was home to Ed Sheeran for 1 night for an incredible sold out show. Alongside him as opening acts were Cat Burns and Khalid. Cat Burns took the stage first for a short set around half and hour long to get things started and prepare the stage for Khalid. She made sure to include her popular hits and her recent single, “live more & love more”. The young UK artist has been gaining popularity through her viral hit on TikTok of her song "go" and has an average of 6.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Khalid did a slightly longer set consisting of 12 songs and opened with “Young Dumb & Broke” and ending with “Better”. The grammy nominated artist setlist included a good mix of some of his newer releases and older songs from his debut album, "American Teen" that had everyone singing along and up on their feet. Khalid's energy was infectious and by the time he was done this crowd was more than ready for Ed to end the night with an unforgettable performance.

If you've seen Ed Sheeran in concert before then you than have more than likely have seen him perform his entire show solo, with just a guitar and a loop pedal that he uses to create his harmonies and effects of having a band on stage, however this time around he did something different. Most of his songs he continued to perform this way, but he also included a band to join him throughout the show so he could include songs he's never done on tour before. Before explaining this to the crowd for first time Ed concert goers, he started off with a full band for opening with “Tides” from one of his more recent albums, then covered "BLOW", which features country artist Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars. Also with the full band, fans were able to hear songs that feature other artists like "River", "South of the Border", and "I Don't Care" for the first time. Ed also included one of his most popular collabs, "Beautiful People" with Khalid joining on stage for his own verse. Ed performed 25 songs total including an encore of 3 songs. A surprise guest and classically trained violinist, Alicia Enstrom also made her presence at this show during his 2017 hit "Galway Girl". During the solo part of his show, as Ed referred to as his "sing along part of the show" performed hits like, "Perfect", "Thinking Out Loud" and "Photograph" to name a few. Hearing over 70,000 people in unison singing the lyrics, "Darling, you look perfect tonight" while lighting up the entire arena with flashlights on their phone was an incredible sight that I will never forget.

One of the many highlights of this concert was the set up and effects that went into the production of this tour including the spinning stage. If you look closely you can see the math symbols on the outer rings of the stage on the picture above, and while performing it would spin clockwise ensuring no matter where you were sitting you would be able to see the artists directly in front of you. The circle screen above the stage would also display the artist, colorful design graphics, and even song lyrics with every song change. Before leaving for the night, Ed performed a short encore which included, "You Need Me I Don’t Need You" followed by "Shape Of You" and to end the night, " Bad Habits". This was definitely one of the largest concerts I've ever been too, and yet it still felt intimate as though Ed was singing directly to me. His stage presence and crowd control is some of the best I've ever witnessed over the years. Ed knows how to make his fans feel appreciated and involved during his live shows. From the ability to get everyone to sing along as loud as they can to being able to hear a pin drop is truly amazing. Overall, this concert including openers and encore was around 4 hours long. If you ever get the chance to see him live, don't miss out!

Ed Sheeran is a Singer and Songwriter from The UK. He has impressively reached over 78 million listeners on Spotify and billions of streams on the platform. Ranking in the top of both U.K and U.S.A charts, Ed is among one of the most listened to artists in the world. With elements of pop, folk, rap, he creates unique blends of genres across multiple albums. Ed has been playing music since he was a child. He used to busk on the streets for anyone who would listen, and over the last decade has been selling out arenas and headlining tours. Ed first started releasing his music on platforms like Spotify in 2009, with his debut EP, “You Need Me” featuring 5 songs. His first album, + (Plus) would come out in 2011 with 16 songs including “The A Team” and “Lego House”. Also in 2011, Ed released his "No.6 Collaborations" and a lesser known EP, “The Slumdon Bridge”. After the success of the A Team and his first Ep’s, he went on to release even more music for his fans and would eventually go on tour with Snow Patrol as a supporting act in 2012. Two years later, in 2013, Ed released his second album in the mathematics series, X (multiply). Featuring 24 songs, including some of his most popular hits like, “Photograph” and “Thinking Out Loud”. In 2017, Ed released his third album of the mathematics series (Divide). This full length album had 16 songs, including “Shape Of You” and “Perfect”. 5 out of the 16 songs on this album have reached over a billion streams. Throughout the years Ed has collaborated on many songs with artists like: Chance the Rapper, Beyoncé, Camila Cabello, and Eminem. After headlining his own shows he continued his mathematics legacy with his fifth album = (Equals) in 2021, which features 23 songs including "Shivers” and “Bad Habits”. Ed’s most recent release is an album called - (Subtract) that released earlier this year. Currently the artist is finishing up tour in North America and has also added some select dates around the U.S for the “Subtract Tour" where he plays a complete playthrough of his most recent album. The artist has also hinted at more new music releases in the future, and I can’t wait to see what Ed does next!

Written By Jenna Barton

*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.


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