The sun had set, the sky had gone dark and the rain continued to lightly fall as the redhead singer bounded centrestage.

With his heartwarming grin he wasted no time on words.

He strode straight into his first song - Castle on the Hill - strumming his guitar with all the gusto expected of a global singing star.

"We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill."


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It's my first time hearing the 27-year-old singer live.

I prepared with a week listening to his latest album on my work playlist.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Sheeran newbie, I had listened to him before, in my car on the radio, in a restaurant as his soft ballad tunes floated overhead - I would even say I'm a fan, if not an adoring one.

But I did want a solid education on his complete library before seeing him live.

Ed Sheeran on stage at Mt Smart stadium Saturday night. Photo / Phil Walter / Getty
Ed Sheeran on stage at Mt Smart stadium Saturday night. Photo / Phil Walter / Getty

A concert is always a bit more fun when you know the words, and Sheeran certainly encouraged his audience to sing and dance.

"I hope you know the words otherwise it might be a long two hours," he said.

I'm not brave enough to impose my voice on my fellow concert attendees, but there's something to be said about a stadium of people's voices swelling in unison, as they did with his hit song, Dive, 20 minutes into the show.


And although Sheeran was quick to encourage people to join in, the crowds were equally content to simply listen to his voice fill the stadium for some of his more mellow songs.

The British singer, from Framlingham, Suffolk, armed with just his voice and guitar, had a way of capturing the crowd, as he performed with little of the theatrics that can typically fill the concert backdrop.

But the lack of fireworks, showy lights and exuberant dance troupes were not missed.

It was enough to have the man himself fill the stage with his talent, as he launched into his two-hour playlist with only a few colourful projections at his back.

His winning personality, as he encouraged the audience to join in, to dance, sing and not be afraid to make fools of themselves, was an added bonus.

A-team, a particularly soulful sounding song, got the crowd feeling the tunes as Sheeran got everyone to turn on their phone torches, filling the stadium with a moving mini-light show.

As one of the biggest, if not the biggest musician in the world at the moment, Sheeran, has no shortage of fans Downunder.

His last record, Divide, was last year's biggest-selling album and its four singles went platinum multiple times over.

Subsequently his tours have been selling out - smashing Australasian records for the highest ticket sales for a single tour.

Saturday was the first of six stadium shows in New Zealand. In Auckland, where all three shows were sold out, over 140,000 people were expected to flock to hear the troubadour strum and sing.

The tour, which finishes with three shows in Dunedin, has been touted as the biggest show we've ever had and is certainly a special treat for those Sheeran fans lucky enough to nab a ticket.

Ed Sheeran is welcomed to Mt Smart stadium on Saturday afternoon. Photo / Greg Bowker
Ed Sheeran is welcomed to Mt Smart stadium on Saturday afternoon. Photo / Greg Bowker

Sheeran was welcomed to the stadium earlier in the day with a rousing powhiri, his first and at his request. Twenty-five people from different iwi greeted the star.

A smiling Sheeran gave the group a signed album: "Here's this, I don't know if you want it or not," he said.

Congratulated on his recent engagement to Cherry Seaborn, he said marriage wouldn't stop him touring, but eventual fatherhood might.​