Ed Sheeran’s a star.
No two ways about it, the 21-year-old Brit sensation — who played to a rapturous, sold-out Fillmore Detroit Thursday night — has elite levels of charisma and starpower, and he showed them off in a tremendous 100-minute concert Thursday that he managed to carry entirely on his own, with only the help of a guitar and a few foot pedals.
Sheeran doesn’t have a band, it’s just him. But he was easily able to command the crowd, getting them to be his “gospel choir” during some songs and bringing them to an absolute hush during others. The next time Sheeran is in town it will be at Ford Field when he opens for Taylor Swift, and he’s so good he will have that audience in the palm of his hand, too.
Sheeran — a pair of black Nike Air Yeezys on his feet — hit the stage and opened with “Give Me Love,” from his 2011 debut album “+.” He jumped up on the speakers at the foot of the stage and belted to the crowd — mostly teenage girls, some in “Sheerios” shirts, who lined up as early as 1 a.m. the night before — while mashing his guitar and surrounding himself in playback effects. He’s one man, but he was able to produce the sound of a whole band, and it was immediately clear he was in complete control of his sound, the stage and the crowd. Over the next 90-plus minutes, Sheeran — a messy mop of red hair atop his head — rifled through songs from his debut, mixing in pieces of songs by 50 Cent (“In Da Club”), Eminem (“Lose Yourself”) and Bobby McFerrin (“Don’t Worry Be Happy”) along the way. (One note of caution: When doing his speed-rap thing, he sometimes sounds like the dude from Barenaked Ladies, a fate best avoided.)
At several points in the show, Sheeran ditched his microphone altogether and sang a capella to the crowd, a gutsy trick that he pulled off with style. The only other performers I’ve seen do that in concert are Tony Bennett and Michael Buble. Not saying Sheeran is in their company yet, but he’s on his way.