Ed Sheeran, Philippines, +–=÷x Tour

Ed Sheeran Returns: Highlights from the +–=÷x Tour’s Philippine Leg

We were one of his loudest audiences~

A night of heartfelt ballads, powerful vocals, and blinding lights, Ed Sheeran’s return to the Philippines was nothing less than electrifying!

Related: On Dreams and First Crushes: ENHYPEN’s New Spotify K-Pop On Single is a Full-Circle Moment

Spending several hours on a Saturday night in a sweaty, crowded space with no air-conditioning? “No, thank you,” many of us would cry instantly when presented with the question. But for about fifty thousand (50,000) music lovers, someone came along that was worth the struggle. 


Day in the life – Manila edition

♬ original sound – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran came back to the Philippines for the third time last Saturday night (9 March 2024) as part of his +–=÷x Tour (read as “Mathematics Tour”), which began in April of 2022 and will span until September of this year. The English singer-songwriter’s return to the country was highly-anticipated, with the show quickly selling out and hordes of fans gathering outside the venue for the opportunity to listen. 

Here are just a few things we loved about the concert:

The King of Live Looping

@jdhprl This is what makes Ed unique. It just show how talented of a musician he izzzz. Intro to Shivers #edsheeran #mathematicstour #shivers #loopstation ♬ original sound – jdhprl

Aside from oozing with songwriting talent, Ed Sheeran is also well-known for his mastery of the loop pedal – a device that allows the user to record bars of music in layers to create entire backing tracks on-the-go for a full, unique sound experience. The artist even took the time to demonstrate and explain that the sounds stored by the looper were volatile – meaning no two performances of the same song could ever be identical. 

Between the self-harmonizing, percussive guitar-playing, beatboxing, and overall showmanship, it was truly a spectacle to behold. In particular, Sheeran’s delivery of the powerful vocal “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” would bring you goosebumps to behold live. 

A 360° Production

The SMDC Festival Grounds served as the perfect backdrop to Ed Sheeran’s performance. With a round stage that had screens facing all directions and a spinning platform, every audience member got the chance to fantasize about possibly having made direct eye contact with the talented singer. Determined to give all the front-row patrons a good view of him, Ed zoomed across the stage like a madman and the audience loved it (SheeRAN, indeed). 

Additionally, the stage’s various fixtures provided for many lighting tricks, including pyrotechnics and even fireworks! 

A Mix of Fresh and Familiar

@_feedia Ed Sheeran in Manila. Mathematics World Tour Manila #edsheeran #edsheeraninmanila #mathematicstourmnl #fyp ♬ original sound – 🪄musichanges

Prior to his March 9th concert date, Ed Sheeran’s last performance in the country was all the way back in 2018. In the six years since, he has released four (4) albums, two of which – Autumn Variations and “-” (read as “Subtract”) – only came out last year. In spite of this, the songwriter’s lineup for the night was full of favorites such as “Lego House”, “Shape of You”, “Tenerife Sea”, and a medley of songs from his collab album. 

In fact, before beginning “Thinking Out Loud”, the singer even quipped cheekily, “If you don’t know the words to this song, then you’re at the wrong concert.”

The Rich Back Stories

@krntblnt #edsheeran #edsheeranateam #ateam #edsheeraninmanila #edsheeraninmanila2024 ♬ original sound – Karen Tablante

Naturally, one of the draws of watching a live performance by your favorite artists is hearing them talk a little about themselves and the music. March 9th was no exception, as Sheeran shared stories such as the loss that led to the song “Eyes Closed”, and the trying tale of how it took years of determination for his first hit, “The A Team” to finally open doors for him – a reminder to us all that we should hold onto our dreams.

The Crowd Work

@philippinestar Filipino Sheerios did not disappoint Ed Sheeran as they sang with the British musician performing "Sing" during his "Mathematics Tour" at the SMDC Festival Grounds on Saturday. #philippinestar #entertainmentnewsph #edsheeran #singedsheeran #mathematicstourph ♬ original sound – Philippine STAR

In true folksinger tradition, Ed frequently invited the audience to sing along with him, even going so far as to say that his goal for the evening was for both him and the audience to leave with no voice left. He even split the audience in half and dared each to out-sing the other before teaching them how to harmonize with one another. Like a fun karaoke session with a barkada of thousands, the audience was more than willing to oblige. 

Ben & Ben 

Across the board, no other audience can match us Filipinos when it comes to our volume at concerts. However, when Ed Sheeran called for Ben & Ben to come back out on stage, the crowd went absolutely wild. When the three acoustic artists harmonized to “Maybe the Night”, it was a magical moment of musical camaraderie. 

Towards the end of his set, the singer promised that he wouldn’t wait another seven (7) years to return to the Philippines. We’ll be watching closely to see if he keeps his promise!

Continue reading: The Round-Up: Start March Strong with These New Music Picks