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Ed Sheeran breaks attendance record at Levi’s Stadium

Ed Sheeran paused to remember how it all started, thinking back to the time he launched “The A Team” in an English pub and no one paid attention.

Of course, that song ended up being a game-changer for the British singer-songwriter, launching him on a career that would result in fame, fortune and, on Saturday night (September 16), the largest crowd ever assembled . at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

“It’s crazy now to have 80,000 people singing ‘The A Team’ to me,” remarked Sheeran, who said he was informed by stadium officials before taking the stage that his show had established the all-time attendance record at the home of the San Francisco 49ers.

The previous record for concerts was set in June 2015 by Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead, which featured surviving members of the Dead and other musicians long associated with the group and drew nearly of 76,000 people every other night. nights. WrestleMania, also from 2015, held the overall mark for a single event with around 77,000 attendees — that is, until Sheeran stepped in and put his name on the record.

Compare these numbers with what was seen at the two previous big shows at Levi’s in 2023 – Taylor Swift in July and Beyoncé in August – which attracted approximately 58,000 and 50,000 people, respectively. (Swift performed two shows at the stadium, so her total attendance was around 116,000 people.)

Ed Sheeran performs at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, September 16, 2023. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Regardless, the crowd that turned out at the Bay Area stop on Sheeran’s +–=÷× tour (aka the Mathematics Tour) was absolutely massive – probably ranking among the biggest crowds to have ever attended a non-festival concert in the Bay Area. history.

What makes the attendance figure even more incredible is that this wasn’t a legendary rock band with a massive stage production like U2 or a superstar pop group like Beyoncé, touring with Backup dancers, costume changes and plenty of bells and whistles. Instead, it was mostly about one guy and his guitar, singing well-written songs in a way that would easily translate to a theater or club setting.

Indeed, Sheeran performed a small-venue concert at Oakland’s Fox Theater on Friday night, and the musical experience probably wasn’t all that different than at Levi’s. The women’s toilet lines, however, were probably very different.

Sheeran performed “in the round,” which meant fans could sit on all sides of the stadium and still see what was happening on stage. This setup sells many more tickets than you get with a traditional setup (like the one used by Swift and Beyoncé), where a huge stage is pushed to one side of the stadium floor and renders thousands of seats unsellable.

Sheeran’s tour setup was fairly utilitarian in design, offering little more than a stage that rotated, as the singer himself put it, “like a giant lazy Susan” so fans could have different views throughout the night.

Sheeran roamed the stage like a caged cat, moving just for the sake of moving, while chatting with the crowd and singing along to all of his biggest hits for about two hours and 15 minutes on stage.


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