Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour Of North America Is Interspersed With The Smaller-Venue Subtract Tour

At the end of April 2023, Ed Sheeran announced the Subtract Tour of the US. The Subtract Tour takes place in gaps between the + – = ÷ x Tour (Mathematics Tour) dates. The Mathematics Tour is a stadium tour with guests including Khalid, Russ, Dylan, Rosa Linn, Cat Burns, and Maisie Peters. By all accounts, The Mathematics Tour is a full-on spectacle

The Subtract Tour dates were added so that Ed Sheeran could play smaller, more intimate venues across the US and Canada. Ben Kweller was announced as the opening act. 14 venues are included in the Subtract Tour; 24 stadium shows were advertised for the Mathematics Tour. The following video from May 27 captures the intimacy of the Subtract events:

That was the closing section of the show at Tabernacle, Atlanta, where Sheeran walked to a small platform in the middle of the venue & played an unplugged finale. Eddie303 aptly comments: “Live without mic is the best way to perform in a silent place. Nearly brought me to tears. Hats-off to the crowd for maintaining pin-drop silence.” Earlier this year, on April 17, during European shows ahead of the release of the Subtract album, Ed Sheeran played a smaller theatre amongst big stadium venues.

The show at the 1500 capacity Admiralspalast, Berlin, had a strict 10pm curfew for amplification. As The Music Man has reported, at 10pm Sheeran moved to a small platform amongst the audience & concluded his set with a couple of acoustic songs. Whether this was a pre-planned strategy to deal with the curfew, or a spontaneous gesture, it seems that Sheeran has taken a shine to including smaller venue shows that include a mid-audience acoustic section at the end. How does Mathematics compare?

USA Today describes Ed Sheeran’s North American stadium shows as “Goliath in-the-round productions that make excellent use of kaleidoscopic colours, tilted light towers adorned with guitar picks that serve as video screens, and a spinning platform that allows Sheeran to play to all sides of the stadium.” “Goliath” is an evocative word that points both to Sheeran’s star power and the sheer scale and ambition of his stadium events.

The smaller April 2023 concert at Admiralspalast, Berlin, where Sheeran moved to the middle of the theatre after the amplification curfew, had a delightful, spontaneous conclusion. Ed Sheeran overheard Annemarie Schmidt singing along with him during Afterglow and asked her to join him. I can’t help think that this magic moment influenced both Sheeran’s desire to play more gigs at smaller venues and his inclusion of a mid-audience acoustic conclusion in these shows. What do you think? Take a look:

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