After two years of listening to Mumford & Sons, religiously at times, I finally got to see them perform live last night. They played in Denver back on Oct. 27, 2010, but I missed that show due to another commitment. They again played in Denver June 15 and 16, 2011, but I was already back living in Cincinnati at that time. Since moving last year, none of their very limited US tour dates have been within a four-hour drive. So when a date was announced in Columbus, I jumped on the opportunity to see them, even if it meant driving to the show by myself, which I ended up doing.
Originally the show was scheduled to take place at the LC Pavilion, a small (6,000 seat) amphitheater that I had only been to a couple of times before in 2002 and 2004 to see O.A.R. Once the tickets went on sale and sold very quickly, they decided to move the show to the parking lot behind the venue and to sell 10,000+ tickets. Obviously, a well designed amphitheater would be a much better place to see a show over a car park, as one of the band members called it. It definitely would have had better sight lines and would have felt more intimate.
However, that is where my complaints on the night end. They actually did a pretty good job setting up the parking lot by providing two large screens to view the performers. They brought in numerous portable restrooms, beer booths, etc. Even with the large crowd, I never ran into any lines to get what I needed.
Dawes opened up the show, and I made sure to get in early enough to watch their set. I’m moderately familiar with their latest release 2011′s Nothing is Wrong, and their track “A Little Bit of Everything” was included on last years NOW That’s What Ed Calls Music compilation. That song was the second to last song that they played, following it up with the equally as catchy “Time Spent in Los Angeles.” Marcus Mumford came out before both of those tunes to perform on “When My Time Comes,” which is off of their first album. I’ve never heard the song before, but I really loved the performance.
Mumford & Sons took the stage around 9:30 after an introduction claiming that the next hours were going to be full of dancing and incredible entertainment. I had such high expectations going into the show, and fortunately all expectations were completely met. After leading off with “Lovers’ Eyes,” a track off of their soon to be released sophomore release Babel, the band launched into “Little Lion Man” and the crowd erupted. Throughout the 17 song setlist I don’t think the crowd stopped moving the entire time. Even during the quieter moments, the crowd was mostly respectful and silent.
All songs from their debut album Sigh No More were played except for the title track and “After the Storm,” which hasn’t been played this year. In addition five other songs from Babel were played including the first single “I Will Wait” and my favorite of the bunch “Below My Feet.” It is amazing how much sound the four piece band can produce live. All members are multi-instrumentalists, and lead vocalist Marcus plays a kick drum (and often kick tambourine) at the same time as guitar in most songs. He even sat down at the drum kit for “Lover of the Light.” A three-piece horn section was also added to some songs for an even bigger sound. This really stood out on “Winter Winds,” the second to last song of the night. Fittingly, they ended the night with their biggest hit to date, “The Cave,” leaving everyone in attendance wanting to hear more. I definitely will make an effort to see them again soon.