Ed Sheeran Celebrates 10th Anniversary of 'x' By Playing It All

On a scale from 1 to 10, Ed Sheeran's last 10 years have been a 10, or in Roman numerals an X.

Not to be confused with his 2014 sophomore album, x, which stands for multiply.

On Wednesday, May 22, Sheeran celebrated those ten years, x, and his wild success with a one-night-only concert of the album and bonus tracks - and even included some cover songs

Packing the Barclays Arena in Brooklyn, Sheeran performed all 12 songs from the original album, in order of the track listing on the album, and then also the bonus tracks on the Wembley edition, also in order.

Sheeran's most dedicated fans couldn't have been more happy.

As is the case when artists look back and perform their older albums in their entirety, Sheeran live debuted three of the songs that weirdly have never seen the light of day since x was released.

“Shirtsleeves,” for example was the first song the singer/songwriter wrote for the album. He followed it with another tune celebrating its live-debut, "Even My Dad Does Sometimes."

What's endearing is listening to the sold out 20,000 fans sing along to songs they'd only ever heard recordings of.

There was adorable Ed, in the same sort of red flannel he wore in 2014, playing a little guitar making memories for what I am being told are Sheerios who will never forget that night.

"Touch and Go" was another of the live debuts this week in Brooklyn

Ed reportedly brought 100 songs to the recording session a decade ago for x. The zen producer Rick Rubin helped him weed them down to the dirty dozen fans first heard in June of 2014, but it's interesting how clearly excellent songs like "Touch and Go" never found a home on stage until this week.

Others like "Runaway," "The Man," "English Rose" and "Afire Love" were dropped from his rotation of songs he performed live in 2015 and 2016.

Poor "New York" hadn't been performed live since 2014 (across the bridge at Madison Square Garden). In fact when he played it at Barclays it was just the 5th time he'd ever done it.

Before breaking into it Sheeran said he spent all of 2023 living in Brooklyn because he loved the coffee, pizza, and bagels of New York. Which sounds like something AI would say. Not the glizzies?

But now it makes more sense why Ed joined jazz great Frédéric Yonnet at the Blue Note in Manhattan last summer. It was close!

One of the songs Ed likes to reimagine live is "Take It Back" which he often merges with Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" (two covers he did with Yonnet last July).

What's equally impressive is how he can spit those lyrics so quickly, nearly as fast as his pal Eminem. One day, Ed, maybe.

The show concluded with an incredibly sweet version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," a tune many love to cover, but Sheeran hadn't performed it since 2011.

Before being joined by the New Hope Choir, he explained that the last track of the standard version of x ends with the lyric "And all of my family rise from their seats to sing, ‘Hallelujah,'" thus this cover would be the right tune to call back to that line.

Was it ever. Not that Ed needs any excuse to either release that night's show as a live album as a companion to Wembley, or to cut a single in the studio of it, because it's magnificent.

Plus, in December Cohen's Various Positions, from which the song was plucked celebrates its 40th anniversary aka xxxx.

Ed will be doing some summer festivals starting tonight in Boston for Boston Calling, then jetting across the country for BottleRock... then he hits up Europe.

Get your tickets on Ed's website while they last.

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Last updated: 23 Jun 2024, 00:53 Etc/UTC