Ed Sheeran at 3Arena on Saturday 3rd of October

Ed Sheeran returned to Ireland for four sold out shows at 3Arena, an achievement that surprised many people, but such is his popularity these days, it’s not shocking. Tonight however, he shows exactly why he has filled this arena four times over.

First up is Saint Raymond, the Nottingham singer-songwriter effortlessly warms up the (very enthusiastic) crowd. Between teaching the crowd some simple parts of songs, getting them to clap along and generally just having a bit of chat with them, the overall stage presence and crowd-interaction is incredibly enjoyable to watch. Along with his catchy (if somewhat same-y) songs such as Young Blood and Fall At Your Feet he opens the show on a high.

With deafening screams from the crowd, Ed Sheeran takes to the  stage with I’m A Mess. The first thing that’s noticeable about the performance is that the production behind the show is so much more elaborate than we’ve ever seen before with Ed Sheeran. Normally known for his minimalistic approach to performances the backdrop shows a little bit more flair than before. That being said, it’s still quite skilfully done and it suits his set, and the visuals are entrancing.

The set is relatively predictable for anyone that knows Ed Sheeran. As always it’s just him on the stage, with his guitar and loop pedal, getting the crowd to sing harmonies and canons. However, every time he performs, he changes the set up a bit, throwing in new verses in songs, or bits of covers. Songs such as Don’t (including snippets of Chris Brown’s Loyal and Blackstreet’s No Diggity) and Lego House get ridiculous crowd participation, to no ones surprise really. Sometimes it feels a bit same-y, it gets to the stage where songs kind of blend into one another. However it’s songs like Tenerife Sea, Thinking Out Loud and One that have a slightly more quiet and slow tempo break the monotony and stand out for being hugely moving.

Despite being ill and at the start of the concert having slight vocal problems, after a few songs Sheeran’s voice returns to it’s normal (impressive) standard, with his falsetto in particular standing out. On the more upbeat tracks his overall stage presence is infectious. He doesn’t get lost on the big stage, he strides around when he can and has the audience hanging on his every word and every instruction. He is getting the recognition and the appreciation that he deserves by playing these arenas.  That being said, something is slightly lost in a venue this size, it takes away slightly from his music and it feels a lot less personal and relatable (a quality he is renowned for).

After a nearly two hour long set, it show’s that huge popularity doesn’t entail the loss of artistry, with his performance showing him as a musician with a brilliant talent, that knows how to work a crowd leaving them singing as they filter out of the arena on to the streets of Dublin.