Ed Sheeran rocks St James's Park with first sold-out show - review + setlist

Ed Sheeran has played his opening night of a three-show run at St James's Park in Newcastle.
Ed Sheeran has played his opening night of a three-show run at St James's Park in Newcastle.

If you're looking for an ideal date for a Friday night, I'd say everyone's favourite redhead Ed Sheeran fits the bill.

He seems like a canny lad - polite, charming, personable - and, there's always the added bonus of a guitar serenade under the stars.

I mean, I was sharing his company with thousands of other people, but it was a special night nonetheless.

Read more: Ed Sheeran crowned UK's most-played artist in 2017

Ed's return to the North East comes just 13 months after his UK tour for latest album ÷, which saw him take to the stage at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena.

The record has dominated the charts for the past 12 months - spending a mammoth 20 weeks at No. 1. You'd be forgiven for knowing all of the words without having purchased your own copy.

And I promise you, everyone knows ALL of the words.

After support from Jamie Lawson and Anne Marie, the SJP crowd was ready for the main event to begin. We'd been waiting for our audience with the man of the moment for months - and we couldn't wait any more.

Related content: Ed Sheeran announces stadium tour - including North East dates

One of the many great things about Ed Sheeran? He doesn't waste any time getting to the point.

Ed Sheeran on his stadium tour.

Ed Sheeran on his stadium tour.

Everyone loves a bit of banter but at the end of the day we're here to stamp our feet, clap our hands and sing along - and he was straight in with the hits.

The superb Castle on the Hill was the opener, followed by Eraser and The A Team - a golden oldie from debut album +.

Ed's back catalogue plays like an endless stream of greatest hits - so much so that it's difficult to discern the crowd favourites.

More on Ed Sheeran: Perfect voted number one song of all time

There are two further dates at Newcastle's St James's Park this weekend.

There are two further dates at Newcastle's St James's Park this weekend.

I had just one criticism to make after seeing Ed on his last tour - that he didn’t play One, the opening track to my favourite of his albums, X. And, to his credit, he listened!

It really was one of the most beautiful performances of the night for me, mashed-up with Photograph. It’s true - every single song he plays is a hit, but I loved to hear perhaps one of his lesser-known tracks getting an outing.

Other highlights of my date night with Ed were his take on Feeling Good, Don’t, mixed with New Man, Bloodstream and I’m A Mess (another shout out to X, what an album).

If there’s one other thing I want to say about Ed Sheeran it’s that he knows how to go out in style. And what other song could he save for the encore but Shape Of You.

Undoubtedly Newcastle’s song of the night, the melody rang out across the city and I wouldn’t be surprised if those across the water could hear us screaming out the lyrics.

Well, Ed did ask us to “go mental” - as they do in the North. And I think we delivered.

Sheeran on stage.

Sheeran on stage.

The other thing he asked was that we all take part in the show - and he bigged up the “super dads” and boyfriends who were just along for the ride to accompany the bairns and lasses respectively (shout out my brother-in-law who was there doing the latter). Even they had a bop along - he’s just that infectious.

Our night ended on a high with You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, a classic from +.

Ed’s incredible ability as a songwriter, musician and performer has been evident since he first burst onto the scene - he started busking on the streets, playing in pubs and fighting to get his songs heard.

He took a trip down memory lane with us, to the first time he played Newcastle - at The Cluny 2 in 2011, in front of 100 people.

In the beginning it was just him, a guitar and his loop pedal. And that’s still all it takes for Ed to put on the kind of performance that sealed his fate as a global superstar, plus thousands of us on backing vocals.

Tonight, more than 50,000 of us heard him, with thousands more still set to listen across two further nights at SJP this weekend. And we all can’t wait to hear what he’s going to do next.

Were you at Ed Sheeran's last North East gig? Check out our review here

Here's the setlist from Ed Sheeran's Friday show at St James's Park:

Castle on the Hill

Eraser

The A Team

Don't / New Man

Dive

Bloodstream

Happier

I'm A Mess

Galway Girl

Feeling Good / I See Fire

Thinking Out Loud

One / Photograph

Perfect

Nancy Mulligan

Sing

_____

Shape of You

You Need Me, I Don't Need You

*Ed Sheeran will play two further dates at St James's Park this weekend - Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10.