Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
It was the fastest sell-out in the 25-year history of Albany’s downtown arena. And when British popster Ed Sheeran stepped out on the stage of the Times Union Center on Wednesday evening (May 13), the roar of the predominately young female fans who snapped up the tickets told the whole story.
Opening with “I’m a Mess,” the ginger-haired 24-year-old singer-songwriter performed with confidence and a casual, audience-friendly attitude as he melded his pop style with a decided hip-hop edge. And he did it all by himself – no band, no pre-recorded backing tracks and other than a wall of video screens, no stage set of any kind. It was just a guy, his guitar and his looping station.
And as it turned out, that was all that he needed. It takes a special kind of solo performer to captivate a sold-out crowd in a hockey rink, but Sheeran did just that, playing his hits (including his brand new single, “Photograph”) as well as album tracks, along the way dropping in bits ‘n’ pieces of cover tunes that ranged from Bill Withers to Iggy Azalea, from Stevie Wonder to 50 Cent.