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Ed Sheeran, Barrowland, Glasgow

A career as a new age guru beckons for Ed Sheeran if this pop music malarkey ever falters.

At one point he encouraged the crowd to hush anyone chatting by stroking their arm, while the troubadour later demanded an outbreak of hugs.

Sheeran certainly has a hold over his fans, but the messianic tendencies might have been a sideshow, save the fact an image of him in a Christ-like pose served as a backdrop. Mostly Sheeran's mannerisms bow to energetic pop convention, from leading audience sing-a-longs to choosing opportune moments to dispense with his guitar and sprint to the front of the stage.

Not all of Sheeran's songs are straightforward. He dabbles in a number of genres, and there's a cleverness there which he doesn't always get credit for. Some melodies go for down-the-line catchiness, notably Small Bump and a pleasant duet with support act The Passenger on Hearts Of Fire.

There was also a tremendously creative reworking of Nina Simone's Be My Husband that transformed it into a lusty foot-stomper, and a strident The City that cracked along at medal-winning pace. Yet the 21-year-old was over-ambitious. There was no new material but this set still clocked in at nearly two hours; ludicrously overstretched with some truly banal filler.

This was best exemplified in an encore that opened with an extended, fiery You Need Me But I Don't Need You that highlighted Sheeran's creative streak, all loops and vocals, only for two meandering numbers to pad it out till The A Team arrived. More editing needed, but Sheeran is a legitimate talent.


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