On Sunday, yes Easter Sunday, I spent 20 hours at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, one of the major music venues. Why do you ask? Well, Ed Sheeran of course. Why else?
Let me rewind.
I took the train from London’s King Cross Station to Glasgow Queen Street Station on Saturday morning. There I met my friend Claire who was attending Ed’s concert with me (YES ON EASTER). We dropped our bags at the hotel and then went to the venue to scope it out for the next day. We found the main doors and then the doors inside that our tickets specifically told us we had to enter through.
We were set for the next day.
For the rest of the day, we walked around Glasgow. This didn’t take too long as I really didn’t feel like there was much to the city. It had a big shopping district which was pretty busy as it was a bank holiday. We also went to Glasgow Green, one of the larger parks in Glasgow. In the park, there was also a botanic garden so we spent some time there, then headed for dinner. After dinner it was early to bed for us as we had a VERY early wake-up call for the next morning.
Fast-forward seven hours. Our alarms went off at 5 a.m. It was time to get dressed and head out the door. The SSE Hydro was a fifteen minute walk from our hotel and we arrived at 5:50 a.m., dark and early! We were the first ones to the venue, but the next group of people showed up five minutes later.
Queuing had begun!
People continued to show up, but the first larger wave of people came around 8:30 a.m. Then it was quite slow again until around noon. It rained all morning which was most likely why there was a much lower amount of fans queued up early on.
While in line all day, I made friends early on with a few other fans who were at the front of the line near me. One of them I had also seen at BBC Radio 1 when I met Ed and knew of because of Twitter. I also made friends with two girls who had traveled from Norway to see Ed in Glasgow because he didn’t have any tour dates there, one girl from Germany who was living and working in Glasgow, and a couple who went to uni in Dundee. Not only was it really cool to talk with so many people from all over the world, but it also meant you could get up and go to the bathroom without the fear of losing your spot in line. All good things.
Around 4 p.m., the lines finally started to really fill up. By then, the rain had ended so it made sense. An hour later, everyone was standing in line as there was only an hour left until the doors opened. The crowds were buzzing with excitement. And I was at the front. Amazing.
Five minutes to six, I could see the security guards and ticket takers meeting in the entry way, going over what a real ticket looked like compared to a fake as there have been many problems with this when it comes to Ed concerts in the past. They opened the doors one minute late and I was the first one through to have my ticket scanned and bag checked. Then the sprint was on. I ran to Door B, where I got my hand stamped for GA and was told to walk in the arena. Good thing I’m a trained speed walker. I made it to the barrier and had a spot dead center.
I was at the barrier. Dead center. For Ed.
At the barrier with Claire, the students from Dundee, the girl from Germany, and the two girls whose names both start with M, from Norway. (Sorry I’m awful with names!!)
Ed had two openers, Ryan McMullan and then Anne Marie. Both were so different as Ryan was a singer-songwriter and Anne Marie was pop, but both put on an incredible set! They went on at 7 p.m. and Ed went on around 8:30.
The lights went down and when he came out, I could not believe how close he was. Despite the large venue, it was so easy to forget how big the crowd was and being so close reminded me of the first show I ever saw Ed at in 2012 in Milwaukee because he was literally feet away. The show was amazing, and really rivals my first show as being my favorite time seeing Ed. I swear that he looked at me during one of the verses of You Need Me I Don’t Need You (my FAVORITE song), which helps to make this concert rival my first Ed concert as my favorite.
After the concert finished, Claire and I went with two other fans to the back of the venue to wait for Ed at the stage door. Ed had been to the Hyrdo two years ago on Halloween, and they had both been there and waited for him after where they eventually met him. We were hoping that he would also come out tonight to meet fans as it was the first leg of the U.K. tour and he was playing a second show at the Hydro the next night so he had nowhere to rush off to.
At this point, it was about 10:30 p.m. and was about 38 degrees outside. Not great. There were people standing outside the gate already, so we joined them to make a crowd of about 23. As the night went on, people continued to leave either because it was so late, or cold or they gave up on thinking Ed would actually come out.
We had heard from security that the venue ultimately had to shut-down around 1 a.m. so that everyone working could go home, therefore meaning Ed would eventually have to leave.
By 1 a.m., there were only 13 of us left standing outside in the cold. A few minutes later, there was movement from the stage door and a couple walked out, came outside the security gate, looked at us and then started smoking a cigarette. We didn’t think much of this. A few more people came out of the door, two women and two guys and we didn’t think much of this either. We all started quietly talking again when suddenly a voice interrupted us.
We all turned. We knew that voice.
“Want to take some photos and sign some things?”
It was Ed. Our waiting had pulled off.
He was dressed casually in a black Hoax hoodie with the hood up. It was so weird because we were oddly so relaxed and so was he. Well, besides his body guard Kev. Kev never seems relaxed though, so its fine.
Before we started taking photos though, Ed had more to say. He introduced us to the two women with him who turned out to be his “awesome cousins.” He informed us that they were supposed to have come to the show the next day, but decided to go today, so they just so happened to have two extra tickets that they wanted to give away to us. He asked if anyone was in town the next day and didn’t have tickets or had friends who wanted to go and didn’t have tickets. He then let his cousins pick someone to give the tickets to.
Next order of business was the chocolate bunny he held in his hands. He asked if anyone wanted it, as it was Easter after all, and ended up giving it to one of the girls I had spent the day in line with who also just so happened to have gotten his setlist that night as well. It was a pretty good night for her!
Then Ed began taking photos and talking with us. I stood to the side with Claire, Kel and Rebecca (the two girls I had met in line). While standing there, Ed’s cousins started talking to me and quickly realized (thanks to my strong American accent so I’ve heard) that I was not from Scotland or the U.K. for that matter. They asked where I was from and I replied with “Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” They were so amazed that they yelled over to Ed who was still taking photos and talking with other fans and said, “Ed, this girl came all the way from Wisconsin to see you!” He looked over, gave a head nod and smiled, then went back to what he was doing. I continued to chat with his cousins, and quickly informed them that while I was from Wisconsin, I was currently studying abroad in London. They were still confused as to why I was in Glasgow then. By this time, Ed had moved closer and he asked if I had just not gotten tickets to his London shows and I said I was leaving for home in a week and wouldn’t be here then. He nodded again, then continued talking and taking photos with other people.
I kept talking with his cousins, who kept saying how they always tell Ed how dedicated his fans are. I said I had seen him a few times before in the U.S., had met him at BBC Radio 1 a month ago, and had just been to his concert at Royal Albert Hall. They thought it was so cool.
Then it was finally time for Claire and I to take photos and talk with Ed. Somehow, I wasn’t freaking out on the outside (inside was a different story though). I was actually able to form complete sentences and carry on a conversation. I first told him that I was from Wisconsin and had seen him in 2011 when he first came there. He looked puzzled for a bit, then said “I don’t think I came to Wisconsin in 2011. You mean 2012?” Yes. 2012. I got corrected by Ed. Go me.
I then went on to ask him about something that happened at that first concert. A girl in the audience had made a goat noise and he had stopped playing to ask “Was that a goat?” And went on to tell us that he had been given a goat and had it somewhere in the world. I asked him if he still had the goat or knew where it was.
Again, he looked puzzled for a bit, then he got excited and said “Oh yes! The goat. I wasn’t actually given the goat, I adopted it. Its living somewhere in Peru now.”
So now I finally have an answer to the goat question that many from Wisconsin have been wondering about for five years.
Here’s a link to a video with the goat banter from that first Milwaukee concert in 2012.
After that, I took a couple of photos with him and then asked if he would sign my ticket, which he did (with my handy dandy Sharpie that I’ve kept in my purse for years just waiting for this moment, no joke).
I then took a photo for Claire, and Kev, Ed’s bodyguard, was really yelling at us to hurry up because they had to leave. Ed was relaxed and not rushed though. But Kev started to get on him too about leaving so he started heading to the car when I realized I hadn’t asked him for a hug. So I quickly did and he stopped to hug me before getting in the car.
Then he was off.
We all stood there for a second looking at each other like “did that really just happen?” The whole time, everyone was so relaxed and it seemed so normal. And I actually had a real conversation. And had my ticket signed. Got a few photos. And last but not least, a hug.
Well worth the three and a half hours we spend out in the cold after the show.
Apart from meeting Ed, the day itself was one of my favorites to date for a few other reasons. Despite waiting out in the cold for so long, both before and after the show, I was able to meet with and talk to so many people from all over the world. Its so incredible how music and people like Ed, can bring people together. I was so surprised by how kind everyone in line was, offering their blankets to others when they left for a bit, sharing food, or telling stories about how important music, specifically Ed, was to them. While some people may call us crazy for the time we spent there, (I call it dedicated), I personally enjoyed the long, cold day. I got to spend it with people I never would have met otherwise, sharing stories related to traveling, culture and of course, Ed. Its amazing what music can do to bring individuals of different backgrounds together.
Since I saw him in 2012 (yes 2012, not 2011, thanks for the correction Ed), I’ve always dreamed of meeting him. Really meeting him, not like I did at BBC, and this was exactly what I was waiting for. Since he has become so big, I never though something like this would ever happen again, but its nice to see that he still makes time for his fans.
“Still the same as a year ago, but more people hear me though,” holds true today.
Thank you Ed.