Ginger wigs, ginger beards, ginger beer, ginger trinkets, and Ginger Ed Men biscuits, Cork is on a high, caught up in the dizzy grip of incurable EdMania.
Pubs are offering discounted pints for redheads, real and fake alike. Over the nine shows in Cork, Dublin, Galway, and Belfast, he’ll play to 400,000 fans; 120,000 of those at the three sold-out shows in Cork, Friday to Sunday. Last night was 44,000.“I was told just before coming out that this is the biggest tour ever in Ireland, which I think is bonkers, but there you go,” says Ed.
It seems apt that Sheeran should launch his nine-date Irish tour in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, where echoes of Michael Jackson’s two epic 1988 shows still linger a full 30 years later.
No offence to the visits here of rock stars such as Bruce, U2, and Oasis, but EdMania has created the biggest buzz the city has experienced since the then untainted Wacko gave Corkonians an up-close rare glimpse of how global idolatry can take over the collective consciousness.
Wacko jetted in, reportedly took over the entire Jurys Hotel, with tales of a suite painted black and a moonwalk-friendly dance floor installed and other like tales of monkey business.
Ed doesn’t need to share his stage with his mates; it’s not the norm on the touring circuit, but he seems to be free to do what he likes. And Ed somehow makes tens of thousands of people feel like we’re all his buddy.
“At concerts, I get very self-conscious about dancing weirdly,” says Ed. “I want you to sing weird and dance weird with me, Cork. Let’s get weird together.”
He rabbits away to himself throughout and it feels like he’s talking directly to each and every one of us.
He also explains his “loop station”, how everything is live, no backing tracks. “People said I wasn’t doing everything live at Glastonbury last year,” he says.
Well, this crowd believes his every word. He says sing, we sing. He claps, we clap. He sighs, we cheer. The word captivating doesn’t quite capture it.