Ed Sheeran Closes 'Multiply Day' in NYC With Explosive Gig on Ellis Island
Ed Sheeran made sure to manifest the title of his impending sophomore album, X (pronounced "multiply"), on Friday. The singer-songwriter hopped around New York City for a string of shows — dubbed "Multiply Day" — that brought him and his fans to the top of the Empire State Building, the middle of Rockefeller Plaza and, for an explosive finale, a slightly muddy field on Ellis Island that overlooked a sparkling downtown Manhattan.
Fans and reporters first trekked though a rainy Battery Park to board a ferry for the evening show, and after eating hot dogs, pretzels and popcorn and posing for instant GIFs inside the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, they stormed the field for the outdoor concert, just as the rain had cleared.
"If this weren't a radio event, I'd be cursing a lot because I'm freakin' excited!" Perez Hilton told the crowd, to kick off the CBS Radio show. "I would do sexually inappropriate things for everyone at CBS Radio!"
Sheeran then hit the stage in a plaid shirt with rolled-up sleeves and his acoustic guitar, which he famously doubled (or tripled) as bass and percussion instruments, thanks to his loop pedal. On a bare stage with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, he began his hourlong set with his elaborate 10-minute version of "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" mashed with "My Eyes Are Red," complete with the rap verses, strumming sections and call-and-response parts that make the number a strong opener.
"The best way to forget that this weather is happening is to sing a lot — are you up for singing?" he shouted to the crowd of mostly female fans and their mothers, his voice not at all exhausted from the day of scattered sets. "My job for the next hour and a bit is to entertain you, and your job is to be entertained."
He then ran through his hits, including the rhythmic "Lego House," the acoustic version of his Fault in Our Stars song "All of the Stars" and his cover of Nina Simone's "Be My Husband."
"To end [the day] like this, it feels like a quite good energy," he said between playing "Thinking Out Loud," "One" and "Give Me Love," briefly moving both his mic stands aside and taking off his guitar to riff freely and sing on his knees. And though he admitted, "I'm very aware that I have a largely female fan base," he broke out into "I See Fire," his track for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
He began to close the evening initially with an a cappella version of the Irish folk song "The Parting Glass," for which the stage lights darkened and allowed Sheeran to get a first glimpse of the view behind him. "That's rather nice, isn't it?" he told the fans before transitioning into "The A-Team" and closing with "Sing," which he told the audience to continue chanting through the fireworks display and the picturesque ferry ride back to New York City.
X is due out June 23.