Breaking Down Ed Sheeran’s Live Performances

words Al Woods

Ed Sheeran is arguably the most high-profile singer-songwriter in the world, and his live performances are a testament to this fact. The man is capable of taking to the stage alone and captivating thousands of fans, with no backing band for the most part. You may be asking how he does it, and we’re here to tell you.

Ed Sheeran performance

What Is a Loop Station?

Ed Sheeran is just a man with a guitar, but there are plenty of different parts on his tracks, which leads you to think he’d have a live band with him. However, he uses a loop station, which lets him lay down parts while he plays others. During his live performances, you will see Sheeran tapping away at the floor, which is how he controls the loop station. Having a loop station on stage allows him to elevate his live performance and gives fans a greater experience.

Why Does Ed Use a Loop Station?

Loop stations let performers build layers of music, which if done correctly, can begin to sound like a band is on stage. Through the use of percussion and an acoustic guitar, Sheeran can create his tracks on stage, which is a spectacle to watch. If his loop pedal failed, he would struggle to provide a true experience of his tracks and would be left with purely acoustic versions.

The Glastonbury Miming Accusations

Unfortunately, using a loop pedal landed him a heavy wave of fan criticism during his live Glastonbury performance in 2017, with many slating him for “miming” his songs. Despite creating a brilliant atmosphere at the festival, he was left needing to defend himself on Twitter, where he stated “Everything I do in my live shows is live, it’s a loop station, not a backing track. Please Google x”.

What About Auto-Tune?

When artists sound as great as Ed Sheeran, fans often debate the use of auto-tune, which keeps artists sounding perfect. However, if you listen closely to his live performances, especially at the 59th Grammy awards, you will find a few off-pitch places.

Being off-pitch during performances proves that he doesn’t use auto-tune live. However, he does use digital software in the recording process to keep him on the straight and narrow. To find quality auto-tune software, you can Shop Auto-Tune here and elevate your vocal output.    

The Addition of a Band

Ed Sheeran made a name for himself by performing alone on stage by using a loop pedal. However, after 15 years in the game, Sheeran thought it was time to change things up. In 2021, he added a live band to his performance, which the artist claims will clear up the weakest parts of his performance.

Ed Sheeran has proven his worth as a musical mastermind and used a loop station in his live performances to captivate millions. Now, as the artist evolves and explores other avenues, a live band has joined him, which gives him a well-deserved break. When it comes to autotune, we’ve stated our opinions, and you will need to go see him yourself to make your mind up.


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