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The Show Must Go On: Ed Sheeran and his Acoustic Guitar Captivate 80,000 at NJ's MetLife

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Ed Sheeran transformed East Rutherford's MetLife Stadium into his own playground on Saturday night, June 10th.

Ed Sheeran MetLife 6/10/23

There were worries the show would not have continued with the poor air quality in New Jersey starting on Tuesday from the dense smoke clouding the skies from the Canadian fires. But as the week progressed, the air improved, and the show went on for two nights at MetLife.

Kicking off early at 6 pm was the UK's Dylan, a self-proclaimed "rockstar stuck in a pop star's body." Next to take the stage was Khalid, singer-songwriter and frequent collaborator of Ed Sheeran, with his hits like "Young Dumb & Broke" and "Eastside" recorded initially with NJ Native Halsey.

Ed Sheeran Mathematics Tour Stage

After a 10-minute on-screen countdown, Ed Sheeran came to the stage and brought all the energy. The stage design was a spectacle in itself, a circular rotating stage paired with a removable LED screen on top. Four stages pointed towards the center with the musicians in the band, with six suspended guitar pick-shaped screens. Sheeran was running all around the stage, singing and playing guitar without getting dizzy, which is an incredible feat with a rotating set.

He started the show like a rockstar performing two full-band tracks, "Tides" from his latest record '-' (Subtract), and "BLOW," his song originally recorded with Bruno Mars and country superstar Chris Stapleton.

He spoke to the 80,000-member audience like it was an intimate theater, explaining how his infamous loop station works and how he builds a new track in real-time each night. Ed Sheeran's loop pedals have become a fascinating focal point in his career. While many artists either use a live band or backing tracks, from 14 years old, Sheeran was his own band and lead singer.

Sheeran covered many tracks from each of his albums in the 'Mathematics +–= ÷x' series, balancing the older material that gave him his stripes to his newer, more produced, and fully arranged albums like = (Equals).

Halfway through the show, Sheeran spoke about his No.6 Collaborations Project and his desire to cover some of those fun songs for him to perform. He brought back Khalid to perform their chart-topping track from the record, "Beautiful People." He also brought up violinist Alicia Enstrom to lend her talents to "Galway Girl," a song that got the crowd stomping and singing along.

Ed Sheeran has countless hits; chances are, you can sing along to just about every one of his songs. But it still felt that the setlist was back-heavy; the energy was palpable once he returned to his solo set. He performed tracks like "Bloodstream" and "You Need Me, I Don't Need You," which brought his loops but, more importantly, allowed his percussive playing on his Sheeran guitar to take center stage.

LONG STORY SHORT: After watching "Ed Sheeran: The Sum Of It All" on Disney Plus, attending a show on the Mathematics Tour feels like you're living right inside an episode of the series. While we were sad there were no free giveaways like Philly cheesesteaks in Philadelphia (pizza would have been perfect in NJ!), he took to Instagram to show himself whipping around the parking lots to visit the tailgaters and to promote his new hot sauce, Tingly Ted's. It was also highly disappointing to hear a delayed echo throughout the show, which was initially nearly inaudible for the openers; it improved slightly but remained incredibly distracting. But maybe this was only in the cheap seats?

Overall, Ed Sheeran delivered. Never leaving the stage, he performed with acoustic and electric guitars, played solo, with a loop station, and a band, covering twenty-six of his biggest singalongs, captivating all 80,000.


Full Band:

  • Tides

  • BLOW


  • I'm a Mess

  • Shivers

  • The A Team

  • Castle on the Hill

  • Don't

  • Eyes Closed

  • Give Me Love

  • Boat

Full Band:

  • River / PERU / Own It / South of the Border / I Don't Care

  • Beautiful People (with Khalid)

  • Curtains

  • End of Youth

  • Overpass Grafiti

  • Galway Girl (with Alicia Enstrom)

  • Thinking Out Loud


  • Love Yourself (Cover of Justin Bieber, Ed wrote for Bieber)

  • Sing

  • Photograph

  • Perfect

  • Bloodstream

Full Band:

  • Afterglow


  • You Need Me, I Don't Need You

  • Shape of You

  • Bad Habits


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