All words: Kendelyn Ouellette — All photos: Emily Cohen
I was expecting a female opening act. I don’t know why but some how I had gotten it in my head that Ed Sheeran’s opening act was female. I’m glad it wasn’t. Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger, floored me, and I think that it would be fair to say the rest of the crowd as well. Passenger’s roots stem from busking and it shows in the highly personably easygoing nature of his performance. But don’t be fooled by his mellow attitude, his vocals where anything but ordinary.
His heartfelt lyrics and soulful melodies drew the crowd in song after song. Those of the crowd who had no idea who Passenger was before the concert left the show as fans. Passenger’s lyrics weave tales of people he’s met on the streets who have left him feeling inspired about life and his journey through it.
Passenger kept the crowd on their toes by switching between self-proclaimed “loud songs” and “quite songs. Midway through his set, Passenger requested absolute silence from the crowd (a rather odd request from a performer who usually feeds off the energy of a crowd). He then proceeded to stun with a cover of Simon and Grafunkel’s The Sound of Silence. The silence of the crowd heightened the poignancy of the performance and left the venue charges with a unique energy that lasted for the rest of his set.
Ed Sheeran’s entrance onto sage was met with the screams of a sold out show. He was quick to prove the reason the venue was sold out; the boy has talent. He began the show, much to the crowd’s adulation, by saying “my job for the next two hours is to entertain you.” He didn’t let anyone down.
I was intrigued to find that rather than bringing a band on stage to perform with him he was going to do the whole show solo. Subsequently Sheeran provided all of his own bass, drums, and backing vocals by live looping the entire show. Song after song Sheeran proved that he has the talent to continue to sell out venues across the country.
The mantra of the evening was “if you didn’t come to sing then you came to the wrong gig.” Sheeran’s goal was to get everyone to wake up the next morning with no voice from singing as loud as possible and did so by encouraging crowd participation, even go so far as to call them his “gospel choir.”
Sheeran borrowed Passenger’s use of “loud songs” and “quite songs” to change the energy of the venue. There were times where people sung along and whooped during his songs while other times there was near silence.
Sheeran’s profound lyrics matched with his incredible vocals drove his messages of life, love, and change deep into the hearts of all who watched him. Towards the close of the evening Sheeran pulled up a girl from the front row up onto stage to sing with him. He said that he had noticed how all evening she has been singing the harmony and descants to all of his songs and because he was so impressed he pulled her on stage to sing his song Lego House with him. Any initial fear that she would not do the song justice was erased as she hit her first harmony with Sheeran perfectly.
Sheeran closed the show with a beautiful rendition of an old Irish balled The Parting Glass. But left unsatisfied with the evening the crowed called him back for an encore. As his final number of the evening he preformed one of his most well known songs, A-Team. Earlier in the evening Sheeran had voiced the desire to be a rock star, although I wouldn’t exactly describe his style as rock, he most definitely had a rock star close to the show. During his encore he was playing his guitar so intensely that be broke a string but didn’t let that hinder him as he brought the song to its climax. He continued the song without any regard to the broken sting and brought the house down as he threw the guitar off stage and finished the song with the sheer strength of his vocal to carry the piece. It was only after that that the crowd was satisfied, but even after all of that I can guarantee that they’ll all be back for more.
- Mike Passenger: