Wednesday, June 5, 2013

And We Were "Gentlemen of the Road" for a Day

It was sort of love at first sound the first time I heard Mumford and Sons on the radio. Little Lion Man was so utterly different from anything that was being played. I've played both their albums to death - their first is even stuck in my car stereo and I missed it so much I had a friend burn me a copy just so I could keep listening to it. After seeing them on Austin City Limits, even James was converted from "They're okay" to "Yeah, I really like them!" So when the opportunity to see them live came around, we decided  to just go for it, and oh my goodness, what a great experience!

Crowds and anticipation building
We drove out on the 15 toward the high desert in what felt like the middle of nowhere to the San Manuel Amphitheater (formerly Glen Helen Pavilion) in San Bernardino on Sunday to enjoy a day of sun and music. We had no idea that it's the largest natural amphitheater in the US, but it's really no surprise that there were 30,000 fans in attendance and there was probably room for more. We were surrounded by mountains with this vast sky overhead. It felt very special, like we were in this hidden place. (Equally amazing was the people watching; I've never seen so many headbands on girls in all my life!)

We found spots on the grass on a massive lawn, and were able to position ourselves basically right in front of the stage. Just reeeeeally far back, so that when the bands came out to play they looked more like tiny ants than musicians. There were 3 opening acts: Mystery Jets, The Eels (who sadly didn't play "Novocain for the Soul" but who did yell and hug each other an awful lot), and Michael Kiwanuka....and then it was time for Mumford and Sons!

They're almost here....

...THERE THEY ARE!! (Playing Lover's Eyes)

Playing Little Lion Man
Although we couldn't see a huge amount, we could see the band on screens set up over the stage, and we could see lights and watch people dancing like mad. I'd forgotten just how moving listening to live music in a huge crowd can be. You're all there experiencing the same thing with just pure enjoyment. Pretty amazing feeling.

I used to bring pen and paper to concerts to write down the set list as it happened, but I didn't this time. Instead I wrote it down afterwards as best I could remember. The order is wrong on a lot of this, but I do remember the opener, the closer, and the encore.

Lover's Eyes
Winter Winds
Roll Away Your Stone
Below My Feet
Timshel ("This one is for all of you at the back.")
Little Lion Man ("Shall we have a dance?")
Thistle and Weeds
Awake My Soul
Whispers in the Dark
Holland Road
Ghosts That We Knew
Hopeless Wanderer
Lover of the Light
I Will Wait (the crowd absolutely exploded)
I Gave You All
Dust Bowl Dance
2 very quiet folk songs ("the quietest thing you've ever heard in your life. If you think now is the time to make yourself heard, now is not the time.") 4 band members gathered around 1 mic.
The Cave

They didn't play White Blank Page, which disappointed James. Apparently it disappointed a bunch of people, because as we shuffled out of the venue a group of about 5 guys began belting out a rendition of it, and a lot of the crowd joined in. Not quite the version we were after, but beggars can't be choosers, can they?

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