Mumford & Son’s “Summer Stampede from Calgary to Telluride” arrived at the Greek Theatre for the first of three consecutive concerts last night, and the multi-generational crowd cheered, danced and surged with each successive song.
The live Mumford & Sons experience impresses not only because all the band members’ vocals resonate so purely, but also because of the stunning exposure to all the additional performers on stage. At times, more than 10 entertainers jam effortlessly, collaborating on inspiring rock harmonies and emotive rhythms at varied folk tempos.
Lead vocalist Marcus Mumford, sporting his classic ‘Gentleman of the Road’ attire with an unbuttoned white dress shirt, guided the lengthy set, alternating between his acoustic guitar and fluttering mandolin; occasionally he even stepped back to impressively steer the show on drums too. Keyboardist Ben Lovett eloquently navigated each tune with confidence, while Winston Marshall plucked away tirelessly on both a bluegrass-style banjo and guitars with Ted Dwane plucking along with a standup string bass.
Performing tracks from both their albums Sigh No More and Babel, fans sang along through most song, particularly so during the hit single “I Will Wait.” Simple yet effective lighting decorated the stage of the concrete outdoor amphitheater as women and men screamed every chance they had in between other radio hits “Little Lion Man,” “Lover of the Light” and the tranquil “Sigh No More.” The concert’s peak likely took place during their extraordinary version of “Below My Feet,” simply because of the song’s near flawless tenor.
The British band did all the right things, thanking the two opening acts and fellow countrymen, calling indie rock group Mystery Jets their “favorite band” and complimenting soul musician Michael Kiwanuka as a “really good guy.” They admitted that playing at the Greek Theatre was one of their dreams as they addressed all levels of the audience. Marcus even entered the crowd to take a picture with an ecstatic birthday girl holding a poster in the front row.
The group willingly returned for a three song encore starting with a whisper-level version of Bruce Springsteen’s 1985 single “I’m on Fire,” followed by a moving rendition of their track “Sister” and appropriately closing the evening with “The Cave.” Fortunately for fans who couldn’t make it the first night, Mumford & Sons can attempt to replicate their nearly perfect live experience for two additional nights.