Sheeran pulls out his signature acoustic guitar to sing “Boat,” “Eyes Closed,” and “Life Goes On” from his newest album
There’s nothing like Ed Sheeran’s vocals and a guitar. On Monday, Rolling Stone premiered a special episode of On Deck, featuring a performance from our recent cover story subject. During the set at the Moonfire Ranch in Malibu, Sheeran went through three songs from his new album, Subtract.
The video sees Sheeran — dressed in a leather jacket and a white shirt — performing “Boat” on guitar with his eyes closed. The original recording featured Aaron Dessner, who produced Sheeran’s album, playing piano.
Then, Sheeran plays “Life Goes On,” the touching song about his late friend Jamal Edwards, who died in February 2022 of cardiac arrhythmia brought on by cocaine use. “My best friend died,” he told Rolling Stone about the loss. “And he shouldn’t have done… I’ve always had real lows in my life. But it wasn’t really till last year that I actually addressed it.”
Sheeran finished the special performance by playing his song “Eyes Closed,” he said he wrote about February 2022, the worst month of his life. Just before Edwards’ death, his wife Cherry Seaborn, then six months pregnant, was diagnosed with a tumor that needed surgery — which couldn’t happen until after she gave birth. “There’s nothing you can do about it,” he said. “You feel so powerless.” He was also being sued for copyright for his song “Shape of You.”
The On Deck performance was filmed at Moonfire Ranch, which has seen performances from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Doors, who visited its Moonfire Temple for gigs in the late Sixties and Seventies.
Sheeran released Subtract, the final of his mathematics-themed albums, on May 5. “On Subtract, Sheeran’s lyricism returns to the spotlight, bolstered by finely detailed music that complements his crystalline lyrics and close-confidant delivery,” read a Rolling Stone review about the project.