Wednesday morning (March 8) marked Today's first concert on the plaza of 2017 (part of the Citi Concert Series on TODAY), and who better to kick things off than Ed Sheeran?
The pop rocker is currently coasting on the success of his latest album Divide (styled as ÷), which is slated to be the year's biggest album debut and likely to be No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week.
After fist-bumping nearly every superfan who was selected to stand on stage, Sheeran kicked things off with uptempo Divide track "What Do I Know" and later serenaded the crowd with a somber, "Supermarket Flowers." When it came time for the full concert broadcast, he performed his chart-topping hits "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill," and also threw in throwback track "Thinking Out Loud."
"You don't realize how intimate of an experience these shows really are," Alex Ficquette, Today's plaza producer, tells Billboard. "It looks massive on TV, but it's only one city block, so you really get up close to the artist."
Fans who packed the plaza just outside Rockefeller Center were able to catch candid moments that weren't televised, like when Sheeran was too busy petting the show's vet dog-in-training Charlie to notice the on-air countdown, or when he asked for water and proceeded to take a gulp from a fan's water bottle. A more notable off-camera moment, though, came towards the nine o'clock hour when Sheeran gifted fans with a bonus song: Divide's buzzworthy ballad, "Perfect."
"I'm doing one more, because I feel bad you all woke up so early," Sheeran admits before crooning his final tune.
One fan in the crowd then questioned, "Can he not be so perfect for a second?" Prompting a bearded man in front to turn and reply, "No, I don't think he can."
Watch Sheeran perform "What Do I Know?" and "Shape of You" below.