Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The 'Perfect' Homecoming; Not for Ed, but for His Hexham-Born Promoter

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The 'Perfect' Homecoming; Not for Ed, but for His Hexham-Born Promoter

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN JOHNSON Reporter @Ian_JohnsonGaz

IN 1984, Steve Tilley's GCSEs forced him to miss Bruce Springsteen at St James' Park.

But 34 years later, he was able to return for Ed Sheeran, though not as a punter.

For seven years, he's promoted Sheeran on his ascent to the summit of pop music.

Over the weekend, Steve brought the star to Newcastle for what was more than just concerts to the Hexham-born promoter.

It was a homecoming. And Ed knew it, allowing him to walk with him to the stage built on the turf of Steve's hallowed St James' Park where he held a season ticket during the 90s.

"I had to take a moment to take my breath," recalled Steve, whose family were at the ground.

"I was almost in tears."

It was something Sheeran didn't need to do, but according to Steve it illustrates the character of a man who is an "absolute diamond".

"He knew I was a Newcastle United fan and knew what it would mean to me," said the Kilimanjaro Live promoter.

"People ask me if he is really as nice as he seems - 100% he is."

He's been working with the Shape of You singer since 2011, the year Sheeran's debut album '+' was released.

Now, 26 million album sales later, Sheeran is arguably one of the biggest stars on the planet.

The Newcastle gigs sold out in minutes, but did he always expect him to get this big? "I personally didn't," admits the promoter. "I would be a liar and a multi-millionaire if I said I did.

"I mean, I had suspicions he would be a mega-star but I wasn't going around saying he would sell out Wembley and three nights at St James.' "I.

"I can't recall anyone doing that." His first inkling of what was to come was when the singer sold out five nights at the Hammersmith Apollo back in 2012.

A year later, he flew to New York to watch his Maddison Square Garden shows.

Hearing material from his second album, he knew he had struck gold.

But for all the success, one of his biggest achievements has been the duo's fight against the touts. …

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