It’s been quite the year for Ed Sheeran. After his latest album ÷ (Divide) swept the charts worldwide, making the single ‘Shape of You’ a fan favourite, the singer-songwriter had a guest appearance on Game of Thrones, started off a world tour, and had a bike accident. The last caused some of his gigs to be rescheduled, but his Mumbai stopover was fortunately, not affected.
And now, 10,000 of the ginger-haired musician’s fans (who like to be styled ‘Sheerios’) in India will show up at the Jio Gardens in BKC, Mumbai, for his concert on Sunday, 19 November. Details about Sheeran’s visit are being kept under wraps (word is the organisers want to keep things quiet in light of his accident, from which he’s just about recovered) and the concert itself is being billed as an ‘intimate’ experience.
When Sheeran takes to the stage on Sunday night, he’ll do so with his guitar — and little else, in the way of grand stage effects. For those who love his music, not much else is needed — the stripped down acoustic set he promises is just what the doctor ordered.
Sheeran will be preceded on stage by the pop artist Lauv, as the opening act. As for the main act, fans can expect a set list that encompasses all the major hits from ÷ including ‘Eraser’, ‘Perfect’, ‘Hearts Don’t Break Around Here’, ‘New Man’, ‘Dive’, and of course the uber catchy ‘Galway Girl’ and crowd favourite ‘Shape of You’. On his previous concert in Mumbai, back in 2015, Sheeran had performed a mix of numbers from his debut and sophomore albums + (Plus) and x (Multiply), and a few of those hits are bound to make an appearance at Sunday night’s gig as well. Expect ‘A Team’ and ‘Don’t’ to be performed, at the very least.
Sheeran doesn’t lip sync (unlike a certain Justin Bieber we know) so even old hits are never performed in the same way you’ve heard before. That’s part of the sheer fun of watching Sheeran on stage. Like any performer worth his salt, he gets the audience involved, singing along refrains or clapping out a rhythm while he does his thing on stage. The ballads are interspersed with the foot-tapping numbers, so the mood is constantly changing.
The organisers have revealed that Sheeran’s kept his backstage requirements to a minimum too. He’ll have a green room done up with automobile and animal graffiti, and a mini bar well stocked with his favourite drinks like Robinson’s fruit squash, beer, milk and fizzy drinks aplenty in addition to Manuka honey and fresh fruits.
The singer lands in Mumbai on Friday, 17 November (and by a regular flight, not a private jet). A traditional welcome — think garlands of flowers, tilak and dhol — will be laid out for Sheeran, after which he and his entourage (about 45 members of his team are accompanying the musician) will be whisked away in a luxury fleet to the South Mumbai five-star hotel they’ve been put up at.
Sheeran has said he wants to explore Mumbai a little bit before his gig, but given the November humidity, he’ll probably rest up before his big night — and the after-party that is to follow. Nita and Mukesh Ambani will be hosting Sheeran at their Mumbai home, Antilla, where a buffet of Indian food (a sampling of cuisines from across all the states) will be laid out as the who’s who of Bollywood hobnob with the musician.
What Sheeran will consider the highlight of this second trip to Mumbai can only be guessed at. But for fans, watching him take the stage on Sunday night, having him strum his guitar and to hear him rock the hell out of the songs they’ve been listening to on loop for the past few years will undoubtedly be the best.