Ed Sheeran thrills crowds as he takes to Ipswich stage for homecoming gigs
Review: Ed Sheeran, Chantry Park, Ipswich, August 23
Fans packed Ipswich's Chantry Park for the first of Ed Sheeran's four homecoming gigs to close his Divide tour on Friday night.
Support from Passenger and Lowestoft rockers The Darkness was well-received, with the latter getting the crowd singing along to their best known song I Believe in a Thing Called Love while lead singer Justin Hawkins put on an energetic and flamboyant performance to end the set.
At 8.30pm on the dot, as promised, the video screens changed and streamed live footage of Ed looking excited as he made his way through the backstage maze on to stage. And then the Suffolk boi was on stage with his guitar and loop pedal playing Castle on a Hill – featuring lyrics many residents must surely associate with their home county.
Welcomed by rapturous cheers, the singer looked elated to be on stage, telling fans his last gig in the town 'was to about 100 people, so this is a bit different'.
And then it was straight into hit after hit, a mix of old and new material.
From The A Team to Galway Girl, Beautiful People, Blow and Perfect, each number showcased the diversity of Ed's songwriting talents.
Meanwhile, he displayed a likeable and real personality you could not fail to warm to.
He told the crowds he moved to LA and 'hated it', but had lived back in his home county for seven years and loved it.
"It's pretty special playing a gig somewhere I grew up," he added.
After 90 minutes the star left the stage at the end of a cracking performance of Sing, but he was soon back and sporting an Ipswich Town Divide tour T-shirt, much to the crowd's delight.
Then he was straight into a punchy 15-minute finale featuring Shape of You andYou Need Me, I Don't Need You.
One man, one loop pedal, one outfit change and 40,000 happy fans. Ed, you made August 23 one memorable evening and I don't doubt you delivered for the following three nights.
What a way to end a tour.