7 Best Moments From Ed Sheeran’s ‘X’ 10-Year Anniversary Show in NYC

7 Best Moments From Ed Sheeran’s ‘X’ 10-Year Anniversary Show in NYC

“I already know that this is gonna be a top three best gig of my life,” Ed Sheeran pronounced early on Wednesday night (May 23). He had only just taken the stage at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to fete the 10th anniversary of his 2014 album x (Multiply) with a one-night-only performance, but there was a palpable thrum in the air that seemed to promise the pop star would make good on his vow by night’s end.

It’s hardly hyperbolic to say that expectations were sky high when Sheeran released his sophomore album in the summer of 2014. After years of relentlessly playing gigs around London, his 2011 debut, + (Plus), had turned the then-20-year-old from a small-town dreamer raised in the rural east of England in to a reluctant superstar known the world over for his natural songwriting prowess, heartrending lyricism and shock of bright red hair.

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The result was x, an inventive tour de force that pushed Sheeran’s talents in unexpected new directions and the second step in his master plan of releasing five mathematically themed albums named after operations commonly used in elementary arithmetic.

Pronounced “Multiply,” x outperformed its predecessor in spades, becoming Sheeran’s first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, landing four top five hits at pop radio and going on to be certified 5x platinum by the Recording Industry of Association of America. (By the close of 2019, the album also landed at No. 8 on the decade-end Billboard 200 encompassing the entire 2010s.)

Ten years later, in front of an arena filled with fans, Sheeran was ready to take a trip down memory lane and share stories about smash hits such as “Thinking Out Loud,” “Don’t” and “Photograph,” as well as cherished favorites including “Tenerife Sea” and “Bloodstream.”

“When I made this record, you know, you write the songs that are so personal, you hold them in … and it belongs to all you guys when it’s released,” he told the rapt audience. “But what I found listening back to this record, I sort of felt it was like reliving all of the experiences and kind of claiming the stories back.”

In between behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the creation of the album, Sheeran treated each song on the evening’s two-and-a-half hour setlist with the care and attention it deserved — with even deep cuts such as “Nina” and “Afire Love” receiving special new arrangements he’d weaved together on his trusty loop pedal just for the occasion.

Billboard was on the scene to capture all the memories, surprises and revelations at Sheeran’s one-night-only event. Dive into the multiplicity of unforgettable moments from the special x 10th anniversary show below.


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