Ed Sheeran shakes illness during first show of Australian tour at Brisbane's Riverstage

2015   |   Written by Brisbane Times

Man flu fails to get the better of Brisbane’s new best friend.

Hey, Ed Sheeran. You should call. There’s a bit of man love going on over here after your Riverstage performance on Friday night.

Sure, at the first show of your Australian tour and the first of three in Brisbane – “Brisvegas” as you’ve learned to call it – there was some frenzied competition seeking your attention.

There were the teenage girls in the front row. But they lack imagination. “I love you Ed” wasn’t nearly as funny coming from them as it was from the bloke in the back row.

There was the cute “Ed” couple, the girl with an “E” on the back of her t-shirt and the guy with a “D”. And the guy with the Irish flag draped over his shoulders. And the 9500 fans who bought out Riverstage and did what you told them. They raised their hands as you suggested, bounced when you demanded, sang at the top of their lungs when you asked and waved their cameras in unison.

There were rangas by the dozen. Not only was it Ed’s singalong; Ed’s mass-version of karaoke coloured with a backdrop screen of video effects, toy cars, skateboards and pictures of you doing what you do with an annoying dose of all-too-cool.

Cool is a tattoo sleeve with a tomato sauce bottle, a teddy bear and your mother’s favourite Henri Matisse. Cool is telling us Australia is your favourite place to tour. Cool is recalling the small show you performed in Brisbane four years ago, and the one two years ago when it “pissed down rain”.

Yes, this was a celebration of your success, your music, your gingerness. Never before have so many carrot tops proudly paraded their rangahood, most of them flanked by attractive partners and a spritely spring in their step. Your leadership of the red army is admirable.

You rap, you beatbox and you play a mean guitar riff. You have your fans eating from the palm of your hand.

“My job for the next two hours is to entertain you,” you said. “Your job is to be entertained.”

From there, the classics rolled out – The A Team and Lego House from 2011, Drunk from 2012, I See Fire from 2013, and Sing from 2014. There was of course that video of you dancing with that attractive lady, Thinking Out Loud as it were.

As those around us sang every word to every passing hit about love, break-ups, good times and even a smattering of political messages, you gave the rest of us hope: “If you do not know the words, you make it up,” you said as you demanded everyone in the amphitheatre leave hoarse.

And for those of us old enough to remember, you kindly threw in versions of Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious mashed into a Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone, later followed by Michael Buble’s Feeling Good and even a sprinkling of Iggy Azalea’s I’m So Fancy.

“I came down with a bad case of man flu this morning. I will lose my voice by the end of the show. I hope you do too.”

Really? Man flu? Yet, for almost two hours you crooned ballads, you danced with energy, you used your guitar as percussion, and you held the attention of an adoring crowd without a whimper, aside from the wipe of a sweaty brow.

The crowd sang as you wanted.

They were doing it right to the end, until the lights came on and they realised you’d gone, disappeared from the stage.

So call me, Ed. I didn’t get to say good-bye.

Homepage // Ed Sheeran shakes illness during first show of Australian tour at Brisbane’s Riverstage