The walls of the theatre are shaking from the screams of thousands of fangirls as the British singer walks out in an orange tee that’s a slightly brighter shade than his own hair. He opens with a love song from his album ‘+’, ‘Give Me Love’ and the crowd goes nuts – because with the clever use of a loop pedal, Sheeran makes it seem as if he’s working with a full band when really he’s just incredibly talented with the one acoustic guitar he has on stage. The audience, he labels the 'Melbourne Gospel Choir' – and we become the lower and higher harmonies. With the acoustics at the Palais, it sounds incredible.
The gospel choir is again enlisted for ‘Homeless’, ‘The City’, and the Nina Simone cover ‘Be My Husband’. It’s not a singing contest, Sheeran says: “Just sing as loud as you can.” There are few souls in the crowd not up on their feet during the 10-minute extended version of ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’, and we're hopelessly trying to keep up with him as he beat-boxes and raps so fast as to leave Drake or Eminem in his dust.
Traditional folk song ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is heartstopping when the music drops out and Sheeran belts out the last verse a capella. There's something quite spectacular about his voice ringing out into the Palais with no music or screaming, although there's the odd gasp from awed fans. Those who decide this is a good time to scream out “I love you!” are quickly shushed.
When he sings ‘Kiss Me’ – a song he wrote for his godparents' wedding – Sheeran politely asks the crowd not to sing along to this acoustic rendition. Irrespective of whether it's one of the big radio hits or a softer melody, the fans erupt with applause and scream until their voices are hoarse. Really, it just goes to show how diverse and genre-defying Sheeran’s music is.
The night ends with the Palais turning into a sea of lights as mobile phones are waved in sync with the song that first put Sheeran on the charts, ‘The A Team’, and as per his request, everyone belts out the last line. He's easy-going on stage with a boyish charm that makes him seem like the kind of chap you'd be happy to bring home to the folks.