Ed Sheeran in Malaysia - Divide Tour - National Stadium Bukit Jalil

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Wow. Absolutely blown away. I just left Ed Sheeran’s 2019 Concert Tour at National Stadium Bukit Jalil and just wanted to pen down my feelings. The concert opened with Japanese band, One Ok Rock, which truly held their own, filling the stadium with head banging Jap-English songs that I most certainly haven’t heard before but couldn’t help but enjoy.

But when the opening act walked off stage, the lights dimmed and Ed Sheeran came on, the stadium shook with the cheers of us concertgoers. No introduction necessary - he immediately launched into Castle on the Hill, his only accompaniment being the amazing digital screens behind him, flashing glorious greens and blues. Song after song he played, somehow conveying more depth and emotion in every one than any of the album renditions.

Between the songs, his sincerity shone through. He greeted us. Talked about his previous performances in Malaysia. Said we were his loudest crowd in Asia. He charmed the crowd - those already fans, and those who were just there to accompany other fans. He made a tribute to the Dads and reluctant boyfriends of the crowd, threw in a joke about his random appearance on Game of Thrones, and even shed his white tee for a Harimau Malaysia jersey for the encore.

But more memorably, and the reason I’m jotting this down, is that he sang each song like a story. The opening would come together as he played different bits on the loop pedal, giving us time to guess at what song would be next. He convinced us to lose our voices because he would lose his too, having a few days off after this concert so he felt he had an excuse to push his voice. He might’ve lied to us, but we all listened anyway, the voices so loud it was deafening. The songs built up to a climax, bass notes leaving hearts thudding and attention rapt, and each song concluded with a short speech/ conversation with us in the crowd before his next song.

He went acapella and his voice filled the stadium, no flashing lights or dancers necessary to leave us hooked on every word and melody. I was enraptured, sitting at the edge of my seat, when his voice stretched high and low, his range going further than I’d ever heard on his recorded songs.

Although the tour was for his latest album, Divide, we got to hear gems like A-Team (a song he’s played at every concert), Kiss Me, Love Yourself (he wrote but sang by Justin Bieber), Tenerife Sea and Sing. He was a true showman, his energy high in every song - he must’ve been so tired but didn’t let it show at all. I mean, I was seated and even then I felt tired.

I can’t even name his best song, because his talents stretch so wide. When Thinking Out Loud, Photograph and Perfect came on, the crowd sang loudly, collectively. Don’t and You Need Me Man I Don’t Need You left us all awed, the words flowing out him without a stutter, the lyrics clever and precise. With his only backing track being himself through the loop pedal, he harmonised with his own voice many times over, his songs filling the stadium with soul.

I had such a good time. I’m so glad I got to hear him in person. I think Boyfriend and I have lost our voices, scream singing every word we knew. 

Just some logistic information, no water bottles, umbrellas or big cameras allowed, but we didn’t need to worry as there were food trucks stationed inside the stadium. Water bottles went for RM2 which is fairly reasonable. We bought a parking pass for RM30 which is how we managed to get out of the stadium so quickly - hence how this post got penned so quickly too!

Here’s the set list from Japan. I think it’s the same as the Malaysian one with Shape of You and You Need Me, I Don't Need You to close as encore.

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