Ed Sheeran at the 1stBank Center, 01/05/13 (photos, review)By Billy Thieme | February 6th, 2013 | No Comments »
When Ed Sheeran began to play â€śThe A Teamâ€ť at 1stBank CenterÂ on Tuesday night, the UK phenom wasnâ€™t just wrapping up a dreamy set, he was closing the largest U.S. arena show of his career. It was a significant milestone, considering that four months ago he played the smaller Bluebird Theater. This step up in drawing power was matched easily by the voracity of beatlemania screams throughout the set.
That response was perfectly indicative of Sheeranâ€™s rise in popularity over the past few years. On tour continuously since mid 2011, heâ€™s moved beyond buzz status into the realm of solid pop star – in a well deserved progression.
From the opening thrust of â€śGive Me Loveâ€ť through brilliant pop machinations in â€śU.N.I,â€ť â€śDrunkâ€ť and â€śGrade 8,â€ť Sheeran owned the audience – completely alone and nearly dwarfed by the stage. With glowing charisma, he tamed the screaming teen crowd with â€śshooshesâ€ť and gentle, shaming methods to convince hecklers to listen. He followed with a moving rendition of â€śWayfaring Strangerâ€ť from the same realm as Billie Holidayâ€™s â€śStrange Fruit.â€ť Still in quiet mode, he followed on with the tragic â€śSmall Bump,â€ť and then ushered in a rousing cover of Nina Simoneâ€™s â€śBe My Husband.â€ť
Sheeran may be buzzworthy, but this show proved his talents are solid, backed with keen musical knowledge. While sampling and looping his tunes, he folded in bits of Claptonâ€™s ubiquitous â€śLaylaâ€ť riff and Macklemoreâ€™s â€śThrift Shopâ€ť on top of folky hip hop. This showed that heâ€™s not only an amalgamation of his pop history, but a blooming rock shaman.
Shannon Shumaker is a Denver photographer and huge follower of the Colorado music scene. You can find more of her work on Facebook.