At this very moment, there may be no bigger opening act slot than warming up the stage for Taylor Swift. The singer, who shattered the competition by selling more than
1.2 million copies of her Red last week is likely to explode the box office as well when select tickets for her upcoming tour go on sale on November 16.
No one knows the potentially huge impact of a Swift opening slot than British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, who has been selected to take the stage first on The Red Tour,
which kicks off its North American dates on March 13 in Omaha, Nebraska.
“This is actually my biggest outing to date,” Sheeran told MTV News on Wednesday (October 31), just hours before he took the stage for his first-ever sold-out arena date at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. “I’ve never gone on tour for six months without any break. I’ve never really touched multiple arenas, so that’ going to be a bit mind-blowing.”
Sheeran, who was done up in his best Chuckie from “Child’s Play” look for Wednesday night’s Halloween show said he’s well aware of the over-the-top, Hollywood worthy stage extravaganza Swift is known for. Which is why he has no intention of trying to show up his host. “It’s Taylor show and I’m meant to open up and get them warmed up,” he said. “I’m not going to try and out burlesque show it. [There will be] no trapeze.”
The 21-year-old songwriter, who co-penned and recorded the #1 iTunes hit “Everything Has Changed”
with Swift for her album, will be on board the tour through mid-September. In addition to supporting his pal, the two-time Brit Award winner will be letting a much larger swath of Americans know about his acclaimed debut, +, which has already spawned the top 30 pop single “The A Team.”
He’s known since about a month after “Changed” was recorded that he’d be on the tour, but promised to keep it a secret until now. And while his album has sold close to 200,000 copies in the U.S. to date,
Sheeran said he knows that the Swift gig could help him reach the next level on these shores. “I think Taylor’s just opening up a lot of doors and it’s up to me to make sure that I get through to them,” he said of her largely young, female audience. “It’s a massive opportunity for me and I want to make sure to grab it with both hands … it will be exciting to be back in a situation where I’m playing in front of people who are complete strangers and I have to win them over.”
Though he has 24 songs demoed for his follow-up album, Sheeran said he’ll be focusing on the + tracks, since he suspects most of Swift’s fans will have never heard them before. He wouldn’t reveal if the pair will re-create “Changed” each night on stage, but did tease that he is “hoping that happens.”
As for some recent ink that raised speculation that Sheeran and the suddenly (reportedly) single Swift may be more than songwriting partners, Sheeran said his new Red album logo tattoo is merely a historical marker.
“I get tattoos for landmarks,” said Sheeran about the prominently-placed, all-caps scarlet letters he had inked on his left arm in honor of Swift alongside images from many of the cities he’s visited around the world and a puzzle piece that fits with similar ones sported by his closest pals. “When my album came out all around the world I got the world tattooed … If I’m going to be on tour with this album for six months I thought that would be quite a big part of my life.”