This past weekend I was fortunate enough to venture back to Scotland with some friends. We went to Glasgow as a closing visit for our trip, as we will be going our separate ways next weekend. We planned to visit many museums and gardens, and along the planning process we found out about an Ed Sheeran concert that would be happening while we were there. We excitedly bought our tickets, and were counting down the days before we saw one of the biggest singer/songwriters in the world.
This was a first for all of us: an international concert. We were unfamiliar with how the entrance process worked, which led to us getting to the venue 3 hours before the opening acts even started. It was a stadium, the biggest venue any of us had ever been in, and it was daunting. Hampden Park had a capacity of 51,000, and it was baffling to see how packed the venue slowly got during our wait. My friends and I told life stories, ate stadium snacks, and found out our train back to our hostel was cancelled all before the opening act came out. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, mostly fluctuating between tired and frustrated. Below us sat an older couple, and a bit before the show they were visibly stressed out, trying to guide their friends to the stadium over the phone. Directly behind us sat a group of teenagers who were complaining about work and parents, and these moments blended into each other almost. We all had our struggles, and being forced into a stadium with thousands of strangers didn’t necessarily help. But this day, I saw and experienced the power of music as a way to bring people together.
The opening acts went off without a hitch, but we were really excited for Ed. At this point we had been in the stadium for 5 hours, and were growing increasingly antsy by the minute. Then it started: the 10 minute timer. The final countdown before Ed came out, and the crowd roared. People were rushing from bathrooms and snack stands, those down in the pit of the venue were excitedly bouncing in anticipation. We were all chanting “Ed! Ed! Ed!” as if it would make him come out faster, but we didn’t care. The time was near, and we couldn’t wait. And as the timer hit 0:00, we watched him slowly rise from the stage floor, and all you could hear was screaming and cheering. It was overstimulating in the best way possible, FINALLY we were able to experience his music live.
Over the next two and a half hours my friends and I danced and belted out the words to his songs. The stadium had an open ceiling, and since the sun doesn’t set in Scotland until almost 11 pm, the time flew by. One of the most powerful moments we experienced was when Ed was singing one of his biggest songs, “A-team” and he passed it off to the audience. All of us were singing in unison to the music, and to hear it sent chills down my spine. Ed looked so pleased in that moment, almost like he was experiencing the same unbelieving feeling that we were. When it came time for him to sing “Perfect”, one of his most romantic songs, my friends and I linked arms and swayed in time to the music, sharing in the love. I felt so safe and content in that moment, and I looked forward at the older couple in a gentle embrace. No more frustrating phone calls (luckily their friends made it in time), just being there with each other and expressing their love. Ed went on about how Glasgow always felt like home to him, so by extension we were family. I believed him, and I think everyone else in that moment did the same. We all danced and sang together, and expressed our appreciation for this man and his art. At the end of the show I heard the teens behind us say “Best first concert ever!!” and I could relate to them. My first foreign concert had its highs and lows, as many others experienced, but we were transformed by the music. We forgot about our issues to unite and truly feel the music, and it was such a magical time that I’ll always cherish.