The perfect musical equation by Ed Sheeran, in concert in Lucca

The perfect musical equation by Ed Sheeran, in concert in Lucca

“In this concert you will not hear any recorded backing track, when I am alone on stage I will be accompanied by a loop station that will allow me to sample and overlay his voice, the guitar chords and some live keyboard notes, creating the sound of a band.” This “explanation” arrives at the third song of Ed Sheeran's concert under the medieval walls of Lucca in front of 40 thousand people after the 4-piece band left the stage. An obvious explanation for those who paid to see Sheeran live, but still necessary.

The English singer-songwriter thus opened the European tour of “+–=÷×” better known as the Mathematic Tour precisely at the preview of the 2024 edition of the Lucca Summer Festival (it repeats tonight with a second sold out).

A necessary explanation, we were saying, because every time we are surprised by how Sheeran manages with great naturalness to compose in a few seconds a complex and layered arrangement complete with harmonized choirs (his version of “Tenerife sea” was sublime from this point of view). The one-man-band part (with the loop station that bears his name) which represents around 70% of the show is the big show of the evening which is also accompanied by fireworks, blazes and a video treatment on the giant screens different and creative for each song.

The concert in Lucca – opened by the excellent Birdy who in 25 minutes with her piano enchanted the audience who came from all over Italy – showcased Sheeran's great versatility who passes without any solutions whatsoever from rock to hip-hop, from classics of the past to contemporary pop, from love ballads to head bangers.

Sheeran's performance was a journey through his hits, with songs like “Castle on the Hill”, “Shivers” and “The A Team” followed by a couple of mashups in his solo performance: the first together his “Take it back” with “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and “Ain't No Sunshine” by Bill Withers as if he wanted to repay the great masters of soul, the other was a tribute to modern r&b mixed with hip-hop mixing his “Don't” with Blackstreet's “No diggity”. By the way, his extraordinary skills as a rapper are surprising and acquire even more value live as in the long ride of “You Need Me, I Don't Need You”. .

But obviously the most emotional moments were when the singer from Halifax sang the great hits from his songbook (“Lego House”, “Give me love”, “Photograph” among others) with creative sing-a-longs with the audience adoring. Before performing “Thinking out loud” he tells the audience: “If you don't know and don't sing this song at the top of your lungs it means you have the wrong concert”, followed by a passionate chorus with 40 thousand lit torches, transforming the Ex Campo Balilla into a carpet of lights. Also worth mentioning are the funky “Sing” and “Love Yourself” that he wrote for Justin Bieber.

What is surprising is the profound awareness and control that Sheeran has on stage which allows him to joke and improvise, but also to block his performance to signal to security that there is someone in the first stage who isn't feeling well.

Sheeran is particularly attached to Italy where he also has a house in Umbria for his family holidays and where he has not played since 2019 (if we exclude the Milanese showcases of 2021 for the presentation of “=” and 2023 for “-“). In the performance of “Perfect” he also sings the verses in Italian that were sung by Bocelli in the version featuring him.

The concert closed after 2 and a half hours with “Shape of You”, which inspired the audience to join in the infectious “oohs” and chants and, for the grand finale, Sheeran literally set the stage on fire with “Bad Habits”, igniting the crowd jumping as fireworks and pyrotechnics exploded in the air.

Here is the lineup:

Full band

Castle on the Hill



I'm at Mess


The A Team

Take It Back / Superstition / Ain't No Sunshine

Don't / No Diggity

Full band

Lego House


Eyes Closed

Give Me Love



Full band

River / Peru / Beautiful People / South of the Border / I Don't Care

Overpass Graffiti

Galway Girl

Thinking Out Loud


Love Yourself

(Justin Bieber cover)



Tenerife Sea

Full band





Full band



You Need Me, I Don't Need You

Shape of You

Bad Habits