The British singer became visibly emotional at the state memorial service, held at the city’s Rod Laver Arena, as he played a song he had written days before about his baby daughter Lyra as well as the late music executive and co-founder of Mushroom Records, who died in his sleep on 2 March at the age of 68.
Wearing a black suit, white shirt and tie, Sheeran sang three songs, including Visiting Hours, which he had written while in quarantine in the country, and its theme of a life being ended too soon brought him to tears.
According to the Daily Mail Online, the Shape of You hitmaker told the audience before his set: “I never get this nervous, I’m really f**king nervous. So apologies if I mess up the lyrics or anything. So I’m extremely, extremely grateful to be here. I know it’s a difficult thing to get into this country and I don’t take it for granted for all the hard work getting me here and I really, really just appreciated the opportunity to get here.”
He continued: “In lockdown I was able to have a guitar for quarantine I always find the best way to process stuff is to write songs, be it good news, bad news and here’s a song I finished last week.”
The song featured the lyrics: “I wish that heaven had visiting hours. So I could just show and bring the news that she’s getting older. And I wish that you’d met her. I wish that you’d met her. The things that she’d learn from me I got them all from you. I wish that heaven had visiting hours.”
He returned to the stage later to perform a duet with Kylie Minogue.
The service also featured video tributes from Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Elton John, Taylor Swift, and Billy Joel.