FACT Review: Ed Sheeran at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai

The Mathematics Tour brings a record-breaking gig to the UAE.

If you say the word pop star, the image that comes to most minds is sugary songs and poster-worthy looks. The British singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran is not your typical pop star. He’s short, ginger and has no six-pack in sight – and he’s all the more interesting for it. He is proof that if you are truly talented, you will outlast the tabloid, reality TV and Insta stars. At The Sevens Stadium in Dubai, he showed off that artistry and authenticity to 30,000 fans across two nights.

Ed’s The Mathematics Tour supports his fifth album = and sixth album . The concert marked a milestone in Dubai’s live entertainment history, as it welcomed the largest combined open-air concert ever held in the United Arab Emirates. Despite the I can’t-believe-it-took-three-hours journey time to and from the stadium, it was (almost) worth it to see one of the world’s biggest stars. There’s something special about seeing someone at their peak, and that’s exactly what Ed was in Dubai.

Ed Sheeran Dubai

British singer Calum Scott warmed up the crowd in the breezy stadium. Ed followed with a sizzling two-hour and thirty-minute set. He kicked off in spectacular style with fireworks and the crowd-pleasing Tides. The pace and genre shifted, from fast to slow songs and from soul to soft rock. A violinist for the Irish jig in Galway Girl got the crowd singing along. A mash-up of Don’t and No Diggity got the crowd dancing along.

The biggest stars currently on tour, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, have full-scale productions with costume changes and dance routines. Ed’s stage is so stripped back that it has all the elements of an intimate gig, which just so happens to be in front of thousands of people. It’s hard not to be impressed with what is effectively a one-man show. The foundation of the show relies on a guitar and loop pedal, and his wunderkind wizardry.

The 360-degree digital screen and circular stage rotated like a record, so that everyone could see him. Plus, mini stages included additional bands. At times, the sound lacked the crispness of a closed arena, but his stage presence made up for the shortcomings.

Ed Sheearn Dubai

Confident and charismatic, Ed opened up to the audience about the loss of his friend Jamal Edwards and declared his love for Dubai. Not only does he have friends in the city, but he came out wearing a T-shirt with the city’s name. He shared how he would sing A Team in pubs and nobody would listen. And, he commanded the crowd’s attention, and told each side when to have a sing-off and hold up their phones.  

Not many performers appeal to different genders and generations, but Ed brought together whole families. The crowd ranged from parents with their children, to boyfriends proposing to their girlfriends. The romantic songs, Perfect and Thinking Out Loud, were worth the wait. And, it confirmed what 60,000 people knew: it’s easy to fall in love with Ed.

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Kohinoor Sahota - Deputy Editor
A sucker for a good story, if you invite Kohinoor to a gallery, comedy night, new restaurant, hiking trip, cycle ride, pool day or just about any activity, she’ll probably say yes – that is if she isn’t busy planning her next adventure.

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