Miller Park has experienced a great deal of activity this October, but nothing affected the roads leading to the home of the 2018 National League Central Division Champion Milwaukee Brewers like Ed Sheeran’s concert on Wednesday. The Brewers' playoff run also postponed Sheeran’s show by a day, but neither of those obstacles hindered the roughly 40,000 faithful from filling the seats.
Once inside the closed-roof stadium, any frustration quickly faded into anticipation—triggered by the visual realization of seeing the massive stage spread across the outfield. While he is certainly not the first artist to experience success from busking in his hometown streets, Sheeran might be the first solo artist to graduate to the ranks of a sold-out worldwide stadium tour. Indeed, his Milwaukee show further solidified his megastar status.
Thumping and striking an acoustic guitar for percussion, layered melodies from the strings and occasional vocal harmonies were all recorded into his custom built looping machine without a second take during the entire 105-minute set. A monstrous video system that enveloped Sheeran served up visuals that composed the only pre-recorded portion of the show. He also drew strength from a capacity crowd that mimicked his gestures in unison while he created his music on the fly, while also bridging a level of intimacy between Sheeran and his fans despite the cavernous nature of Miller Park.
The first of many resounding sing-alongs occurred when Sheeran introduced his debut single "The A Team." His fervent fans singing at the top of their lungs, with cellphones illuminated, transformed the familiar stadium into an incredible memory like no other performance. Sheeran temporarily hushed the mass, before leading into the delicate “Tenerife Sea,” for what was arguably the most impressive song on the night, featuring a textured array of searing vocal harmonies. “I See Fire,” with a Clapton-influenced melody, began an onslaught of hits that kept the slew of fans on their feet. “Thinking Out Loud,” a meticulously-crafted “Photograph” and a heartfelt rendition of "Perfect," illuminated from a stadium full of lighted cellphones, capped the setlist.
Sheeran also paused a few times to connect with the crowd. He joked with the male patrons, who were vastly outnumbered by females of all ages, referring to them as boyfriends and super-dads. He added that it was a term he used to describe his father, who spent more than one night attending a show that “really wasn’t his thing” for some quality time with the younger Sheeran.
As he’s done at previous stops in the tour, Sheeran emerged for an encore wearing a home-field jersey. It was bittersweet seeing him wear the Brewers logo, considering the team just missed a much-deserved trip to the World Series. However, it was a solid nod to MVP-hopeful Christian Yellich as he launched into multiplatinum hit “Shape of You” that drew many fans back to their seats—perhaps to the chagrin of the boyfriends and super-dads who were hoping to beat the traffic heading home. It’s a certainty that a few of those men secretly enjoyed the moment.