The British invasion is happening again, as I type this article! Just like the Beatles before them, British artists seem to have taken over a market overrun by diehard tween fans, just waiting to yell their heads off in their presence. I’m not just talking about manufactured pop groups like One Direction and The Wanted, but of more unique individuals who even though still widely unknown are leaving their own mark in the music industry.
Last night, when my husband and I prepared to head over to the Spreckels Theatre in San Diego, we thought we knew what to expect. We had already had the pleasure of seeing Ed Sheeran perform at House of Blues back in October. There was no way this event would be any different, we already knew what kind of audience he had. We were wrong.
The first thing we noticed at our arrival, were the countless number of teen and tween girls, waiting to enter the venue. It was a sea of estrogen that was rapidly drowning the scarce male population. I looked at my husband with a smile on my face, knowing we were in for a surprise. Having arrived a bit late, we only saw one of the two opening acts. The lights dimmed and the screams in the audience only got louder as Rizzle Kicks, an English hip hop duo, took the stage. Now, I’m not going to lie. I had no idea who they were and why girls were on the verge of losing their voice every time one of them started dancing. This marked the first time, in my 26 years of life that I actually felt like an octogenarian at a concert. The screams were so loud, I wished I had earplugs. I’m not exaggerating, I know loud; I’ve been to lots of concerts in my lifetime. I can only imagine what it’s like at a One Direction show and I don’t think I want to find out.
However, this isn’t a complaint. I’m merely pointing out how crazy the setting got and I have to admit that the crowd’s energy was infectious. Rizzle Kicks played for about 40 minutes and then there was a 15-minute break before Ed Sheeran took the stage.
The lovable redhead opened his set with “Give Me Love” and immediately got the audience involved by asking us to sing along with him. Everyone remained standing throughout the concert, even though we had the most comfortable seats of any venue I’ve ever been to. It was quite amusing to hear the crowd signing about ‘maybe getting drunk again’ during his rendition of “Drunk”, considering over half the audience was probably not even 18-years old, let alone 21. There were a few songs in which he asked us to be very quiet, such was the case for “Small Bump” and “Kiss Me.” The audience, although being mainly young girls, were for the most part extremely respectful when it came to this.
Sheeran left the stage after playing 11 songs. If I thought the screams had been deafening before, I was in for a shock. The crowd screamed and begged for him to come back out, and the shrilling cries only got more thunderous when he returned to the stage for an encore. His rendition of “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” was about 15-minutes long and he closed the concert with one of his best well-known songs, “The A Team.” After all the craziness was over, I was one happy and pleased concert-goer. Ed Sheeran has talent to last him a lifetime and his voice is beyond amazing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he’s one of those singer-songwriters who only relies on his guitar to play a show. All the backup vocals and background music are recorded by him on stage as he’s performing the song. It’s definitely a beauty to watch live. I would highly recommend seeing him before he gets bigger and starts doing larger venues. His music is definitely made for a more intimate setting.
The only remaining dates on his 2013 U.S. tour so far are:
Feb. 13 - The Marquee in Phoenix, AZ
Feb. 14 - Rialto Theatre in Tucson, AZ
Feb. 17 - Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, CA
He’s an artist who’s in high demand at the moment so if you didn’t get a chance to see him this time around, he’ll most likely return early next year with another solo tour. In the meantime, you can catch him as Taylor Swift’s opening act on her upcoming “Red” Tour starting in March. It’s also good to note that even though most of his concerts sell out, he usually releases tickets the day of the show. So, keep your eyes peeled and good luck snagging some seats!
Full set list of songs:
1. Give Me Love
4. Grade 8
5. The Wayfaring Stranger
6. Small Bump
7. Be My Husband (Nina Simone cover)
8. Kiss Me
9. Gold rush
10. Wake Me Up
11. Lego House
12. You need me, I don’t need you
13. The Parting Glass
14. The A Team