Mumford & Sons come to Dallas with talented opening act Blake Mills.
The lawn area and the pit in front of the stage filled early to get in prime position on a beautiful 80 degree Dallas evening. The early arrivers got to hear Blake Mills open with a much too short set of original folk rock that pumped up the crowd.
The reserved set people showed up just in time to catch Mumford & Sons open in complete darkness with “Snake Eyes.” The lights came on to Marcus Mumford standing on top of an amp before bouncing around the stage. He put the audience in the palm of his hand by saying the Dallas crowd was partying harder than the Houston crowd the night before.
A fan favorite, “Little Lion Man,” was next and the decibel level rose immediately and intensely. Winston Marshall broke out the banjo, and Ted Dwane rocked a bass fiddle as they showed how musically talented they are as a group.
After the singalong song, the band played two laid back selections with tightly-written lyrics containing time-honored literary references. The light engineer also put on a choreographed light show that accompanied the music perfectly.
“Lover Of The Light” started slow and built to a crescendo as the song progressed. Marcus moved to play the drums and touring musicians, Nick Etwell and Dave Williamson, formed the horn section. The crowd danced to this anthem-like song and was the newest fan favorite.
They showcased some old-time rock and roll with captivating percussion work by touring drummer Chris Maas on “Tompkins Square Park.” The crowd pumped again for “Believe,” with its penetrating lyrics leading into a great jam by this group of outstanding musical artists.
Members of Blake Mills band came out to help on “Broken Crown,” a song Mumford & Sons hadn’t performed live in four years. The extra musicians stayed for three more songs and added to the solos by Tom on the fiddle and all the guitarists on stage.
Everyone continued to jam and rock out, they broke into some four-part harmonies and the crowd sang the expressive book-based lyrics. In what amounted to a drive-by celebrity sighting, Mr. Mumford left the stage and journeyed into the crowd to sing “Ditmas,” complete with all the hooping and hollering reserved for big stars.
After Marcus returned to the stage, Ben Lovett, who had added so much musically and vocally all night, played a soulful keyboard introduction to “Dust Bowl Dance.” A flaming waterfall at the back of the stage ignited capturing the attention of the audience who jumped, twirled, and danced as the band finished a superb set of music.
No one thought for a second that was the end of the night, though, as Mumford & Sons are known to perform extended encores. They showed why as they were cheered back to the stage and began singing “Hot Gates” in complete darkness. A laser light show brought out the oohs and the aahs and accompanied another great jam.
The first few notes of “I’m On Fire” made the crowd pop as the band played it as a tribute to Bruce Springsteen. Ben made the keys sound like a steel guitar before another extended jam session. The Springsteen number turned out to be an excellent cover song.
Rock n’ roll was now the sole focus as “I Will Wait” got the few people who were still sitting to get up and dance. At least the men stood while the women danced.
The rhythm-less men tried to dance to the last song of the night, a rousing version of “The Wolf.” The people who left to beat the traffic missed one of the top concert-ending songs this reviewer has ever heard.
The 18-song concert (including 11 Top 20 singles from only three albums) was over way too soon as the crowd wanted more. Mumford & Sons had given fans their all during the two-hour-plus set, and the audience gave them a well-deserved standing ovation for their music and dedication to providing their fans a great night of memories.
Get out to see them and find out why they’ve won two Grammys in such a short period of time. You’ll find talent, stage presence, enthusiasm and dedication and will become a fan if not already one.
Thanks to Fred and Jackie at Gexa for their help.
Joe Guzman (Guzpix) of National Rock Review was on hand to record the event.
Check for available surplus tickets to upcoming Mumford & Sons concert events.