Castle on the Hill 16 | 

'Sheer' magic as Ed Sheeran's Mathematics Tour finally has lift off

Fans had been promised a production like nothing they'd ever seen before - and he didn't disappoint

Ed Sheeran wows the Croke Park crowd last night

Eddie Rowley

Superstar Ed Sheeran's spectacular new Mathematics Tour finally had lift off last night as he became the 'King of Croker.'

Fans of the Shape Of You singer had been promised a production like nothing they'd ever seen before during his first major show in three years - and he didn't disappoint.

Before the hit maker kick-started his sizzling show that had an arsenal of global hits and new songs, the 80,000 ecstatic fans had already been massively impressed by the other star of the night - his in-the-round stage that sat in the centre of Croke Park like a gigantic spaceship.

Emily Reilly and Sophie McGregor (both nine), from Clonsilla, at the concert

The spectacular stage structure had plectrum-shaped screens dangling from six masts and a massive circular display that brought the show up close and personal for the fans all around the stadium.

A 10-minute clock on the centre screen counted down his arrival on stage at 8.28pm. And then one man and his guitar kicked off with opening number 'Tides' while his band performed from separate platforms around the circular stage

Zoe Myles, Seánna Hopkins, Jessica Salmon and Aoife McCabe, from Ardee, Co. Louth

Sheeran, who did warm-up gigs in the intimate surroundings of Dublin venues Whelan's and Vicar Street this week in the lead up to the opening of his world tour last night, admitted he was nervous.

"It's been almost three years since I've done a big show. I am super, super nervous," Ed told Dublin radio station FM104.

This is the first tour since the pandemic that the 31-year-old performer has got the chance to feature songs from his latest album, Equals. It's also the first full-capacity concert in Croker since before Covid.

Sheeran, whose hits include Galway Girl, is proud of his Irish roots - his grandfather was born in Belfast and his grandmother is from Wexford - and he understands why Croke Park is the jewel in the crown of Irish sport, culture and history. "It really is a special venue for Ireland and I don't take that lightly," he said.

Cousins Alli Mai Norris (eight), Ollie Foran (five) and Ava Rose Norris (10) from Clonmel, Co Tipperary,at Croke Park

Billed as the Mathematics Tour, there was no doubt among the audience that the show was all pluses and no minuses - and it added up to an unforgettable experience for Sheeran's fans.

After a triumphant opening, Sheeran will be back in Croker tonight to whip up another party atmosphere before taking the extravaganza around the country, playing Cork's Pairc Uí Chaoimh next Thursday and Friday; Thomond Park, Limerick (May 5 & 6) and Belfast's Boucher Playing Fields (May 12 & 13).

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