When I first discovered that Mumford and Sons would be visiting Titletown, I was ecstatic. They brought folk and indie music into the mainstream, and lead the way for bands and artists like Imagine Dragons, Phillip Phillips, Fun, and The Lumineers to get the recognition they deserve. I’ve been a huge fan of the London based quartet since their single “Little Lion Man” dominated the radios in 2009. Now they were coming to my city. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to see such an amazing performance. Little did I know I would never be the same.
A Lucky Break
As a 23 year old college student, money does not come easy and it must be coveted. So paying $150 for a concert was not an option for me or my new girlfriend, Stephanie. I had all but given up on my hope of seeing them live. That is, until the Thursday prior to the show. For months Steph had been reaching out to different radio stations her company did business with and came back empty handed every time. I had just left for work that morning when I received the following text:
“Hope you don’t have any plans for Tuesday night.”
A little puzzled, I responded swiftly. Apparently one of her associates had two general admission tickets with our names on them. We were finally going to witness one of the most influential bands of our generation perform live in our city.
Inside the Garden
After an excruciatingly long, but worthwhile, wait in the general admission line, we had reached our final destination. Being young adults our mind was set on beer, and lucky for us a family friend worked at one of the beer booths. Truth be told I had not met the man since I was a young boy. So I put on my best mafioso wise-guy look and called in a favor. Success! We now had access to $2.50 drafts of Coors all night and if you’ve ever been to a sporting event in Boston then you know just how pricey drinks can get.
Like most people, we were there to see Mumford and hadn’t really looked much into the acts that were opening for them. We forwent Ben Howard altogether but dropped in for a few songs by The Felice Brothers. If you haven’t heard of them, check out their track “Whiskey in my Whiskey,” it is the Bostonian’s anthem.
Mumford and Sons
The moment Marcus Mumford struck that first chord everybody present knew they were in for a full ride on the Mumford and Sons roller coaster of emotion. Their set-list could not have been smoother. From the transitions between the songs to Marcus switching between the guitar and drums. Although some songs do invoke a bit of jumping for some individuals, for most just feeling the notes resonate through their bodies was enough. The crowd swayed as one as his voice caressed our souls.
They hit on all the favorites, opening with “Babel,” “I Will Wait,” “Timshel,” “Little Lion Man,” and my personal favorite “Winter Winds.” We all know how encore’s work, band leaves, crowd chants, band returns and plays another track of two. So when they finished with “Dust Bowl Dance” and promptly exited the stage, everybody knew they weren’t done, especially since they hadn’t played “The Cave” yet. Nobody knew the treat we were in for, though.
No one noticed that while we were focusing on the front stage, they had set up a smaller stage in the middle of the floor behind us. When the cheering started Steph and I searched frantically for source of the excitement. We found it just in time to join the rush for a good view, settling just shy of 15 meters from the band. Mumford performed two excellent acts, an acoustic version of “Reminder,” and an acapella version of “Sister.”
The final act in their brilliant performance was the much awaited “The Cave.” I tried to stay in that moment for as long as possible while I held my girlfriend close.
The Come Down
Truth be told, it was an amazing performance. It does not hold the position of the best concert I’ve attended, though. That is a spot reserved for Claudio Sanchez and co.
The reason why I will never forget this night is what happened afterward. To get back to Stephanie’s apartment in Brighton required the use of public transportation. The T to be specific. Deciding to pass up North Station for a short walk to Government Center landed us in City Hall Plaza. About an inch and a half of snow coated the ground and steps leading to the station. I couldn’t resist the urge to pelt her with a friendly snowball or attempt to put some snow down the back of her shirt. We laughed, hugged, danced, and twirled in the plaza together. That was when I realized there is no where else I would rather have been with anybody else; I was in love.
So this is as much a love story as it is a concert review (however poor). It’s a story about me finding my place in the city. It’s about me starting fresh with a “White Blank Page.”