An Irish and an English singer-songwriter, a rising star of Tiktok and one of the world’s best selling musicians, captivate one of Scotland’s largest gig venues.
With new music on the horizon, Irish born singer/songwriter raised the roof of the OVO Hydro on Tuesday evening, rescheduling his own tour to support Ed Sheeran in concert throughout March and April. Saving his most popular songs All For You and I’ll Be Waiting – which gained popularity through Tiktok – until the end of his 45 minute set, the musician let the Glaswegian audience behind the curtain to reveal new and unreleased music; a glimpse of what is to come in the bright future that lies ahead.
An ode to “shitty friends”, grief-stricken memories and emotional experiences, Ducrot showed off all of his musical talents, including a solo performance on the flute at the end of one his songs, alongside his powerful piano ballads and skills on the guitar. Opening for an artist famous for the meaning and storytelling behind their music, he explained the heart-breaking inspiration behind Part of Me, his new song that will be released on Friday, before pouring his heart out in honour of his best friend, who he lost to suicide in December 2019. This was a surreal moment for Ducrot and the crowd alike, as he spoke about how the two busked together on the streets of Ireland, learning and covering Ed Sheeran songs: a perfect warm up for what was to be a trip down memory lane.
Having broken records with his Mathematics Tour last year, Sheeran has taken a dive into the archives for his mini-UK tour to promote the release of his new single Eyes Closed and ahead of the last decade in his mathematical album tour era. A combination of old and new – and a peek into what to expect for his newest album, written against a backdrop of personal turmoil including the loss of his close friend Jamal Edwards – Ed Sheeran did not disappoint the crowd, admitting his aim was to play songs that he hadn’t played in a while. In a sense, this mini-tour is as much for Ed Sheeran to reflect on how far he’s come and bring his career back to its roots as it is for the audience to hear the patiently awaited new track.
A throwback to + kicked off the setlist as Give Me Love opened what was to be an incredible performance of acoustic masterpieces, featuring The A Team, a song that Ed announced has been played at every single concert, even if it was only to the sound engineer, Lego House, Thinking Out Loud and a crowd favourite Photograph, which was bled into perfectly by One. Contrasted with upbeat, fast lyric songs, such as U.N.I, The City and Don’t, the multi-award winning artist provided a flawless mixture of rhythms to keep the audience singing and dancing along.
It was clear there were no random songs chosen solely for popularity, the whole evening was a journey with importance and significance. Even the cover of Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved slotted in excellently alongside Small Bump (the Scottish singer had shared a video of him covering the + song aged 13 in response to Ed’s cover of his). This showed the nature of the music industry working its magic once again – to inspire and to be inspired. From my personal favourite song Castle on the Hill, to recent hits Shivers and Bad Habits and everything in between, Ed did not disappoint Glasgow and vice versa. Once again, it appears that Glasgow has the best crowd, with yet another artist labelling the city as their favourite to perform in.
However, perhaps the most poignant moment of the night emphasised what the whole mini-tour is all about – the connection between the artist and their music. When introducing his newest single Eyes Closed to explain that the first time he played it was at a private gig in London, the emotion overwhelmed him and he cried on stage for the first time in his career. The audience knew that something special was about to happen: a personal story reflected onto almost 14,000 people, shared so that each and every one can find their own connection and relate it to a time in their own lives.
One man and his music created a once in a lifetime experience, where the sole focus was on the stories that can be told through the music Ed Sheeran has created over last 15 years. Some would call it unconventional, but this UK mini-tour holds more than what meets the eye.