Mumford & Sons are huge now and their headline show at London’s o2 Arena was the biggest to date. Originally I wasn’t going to attend as I didn’t know how Mumford would be in a venue of 20,000 as I have previously witnessed them perform at smaller venues. But it was seeing them at Rough Trade East that made my desire to see them even greater. It was no surprised that the event turned out to be a sell out. Once the day came I left at 9.30am and got at the o2 at 11am. Mumford was always going to be an early start and it came as no surprise there were 5 people already there. Queuing is always the stressful part of every gig but I needn’t of worried as I got the spot which I wanted at the barrier. Supporting on the night were Post War Years and Dawes. Out of the 2 I must say I enjoyed the set by Dawes.
After Dawes had finished performing a massive curtain which displayed the Gentlemen Of The Road logo covered the stage. This then came up as soon as the band launched into their first song and this being the title track from new album. This was the 1st time I was hearing any of the new material live and it was clear to see that the Folk vibe was still there. Babel was a right crowd pleaser and everyone around me was singing to their hearts content. “We’ve been round and round. It’s really really good to be back home” Marcus then said referring to the fact that they have been touring outside of the UK. It was then onto the next tune of the night and this being I Will Wait. This was a Country/ Folk song which was delivered at a barnstorming pace. At the same time the vocal performance was powerful and it is also very contagious and breezy. It reflects the band’s hectic life on the road and in my opinion it has to be the show piece from Babel. It was then onto something from the début album Sigh No More and this song being Winter Winds. The fact they had a string section and people on horns made it sound rather epic. This tune was written by Winston Marshall and the band delivered a spectacular performance of it. Following on was Below My Feet which felt like a prayer song. I loved this tune as it was a reminder of things we should be grateful that we have if we don’t find ourselves having to ask for them. A song from Sigh No More was next and this being White Blank Page which again turned out to be a massive sing along. This Folk song was extremely powerful and it was delivered effortlessly. Hopeless Wanderer was another fantastic song, brilliant lyrics, brilliant melody. The song itself is very strong and it was delivered at a fast pace (especially at the end). It definitely went down well with the crowd. “So whilst this is also a big homecoming and a big night for us. It is also the biggest show we’ve ever played” Ben said which resulted in plenty of screams. It was then onto a quiet song and this being Timshel. The vocal performance was incredible and the song itself was rather entracing. The band launched into Little Lion Man straight away. Now Little Lion Man was like a full on romp. The lyrics are really catchy especially the bit “It was not your fault it was mine, And it was your heart on the line”.
After plenty of cheers Marcus Mumford then took to the drum kit for yet another Babel track and this being Lover Of The Light. This song was very strong and the lyrics were belted out. Thistle & Weeds was next on the night. While the Folk feel is there it also sounded like the song was brimming with darkness. It was then onto something from the new album which isn’t played that often and this being Holland Road. This was the first time I had heard it live and in my opinion when I listened to the album this had to be the most powerful track on there. It didn’t fail to disappoint this was an incredible tune which was delivered to perfection. “This is quite the experience. This is a quiet one” Mumford then said before revealing that he had a rogue button on his shirt. The song which followed on was Ghosts That We Knew. This was a spine tingling tune and Marcus Mumford’s vocals shone through. It’s lyrics were delivered at a slow soft pace and there were people around me who were singing along. Ghosts That We Knew was delivered strongly. Awake My Soul was next and this strong folk song was a real crowd pleaser. At the beginning there is a steady pace and it got faster towards the end. What made this track even more incredible was the fact Dawes who were 2nd on the bill came on to sing the song with them. Plus Piff the Magic Dragon came on to feed the band cake. They then launched into Roll Away Your Stone taken from debut album Sigh No More. At first there was a medieval theme to it and when the rest of the band came in the audience went wild. This was a fast paced folk song which sounded incredible live. There was a huskiness with Marcus’s vocals plus it felt as if it was a hoedown. The penultimate song Whispers In The Dark turned out to be a crowd pleasing song. Then the finale saw Marcus go back behind the drumkit for the closing number Dust Bowl Dance.
The band then left the stage only to return moments later to perform a couple of songs acoustic. These two songs were performed on a B Stage which was right at the back of the o2 Arena. To be honest it was a real shame with the fact I was right at the front and I had never heard these two songs performed live before. First up it was the stunning Reminder which was extremely short. This was then followed up with Sister. It sounded as these songs were completely a capella as it was only the vocals which came to the forefront. The disadvantage about being at the back is the fact you do have people talking because you cant really see anything. Still once over the crowd erupted with applause and these two songs were delivered to perfection. Once over they all came to the main stage for what was the encore. “Thank you very much for letting us do that” Ben Lovett then said before the penultimate song of the evening. This was to be The Cave which was taken from Sigh No More. This has to be one of my highlights from the 1st album and just hearing this song sung impeccably live was quite something. The Cave was delivered strongly and had lyrics which many fans sang along to. “This has been a lot of fun. Thank you so much” Mumford said before something which was extremely fun and this being a cover of The Beatles With A Little Help From My Friends. Dawes came back onto the stage for this one. This joyous attempt on this well known song was faultlessly delivered and closed what had been a stunning night.
I Will Wait
Below My Feet
White Blank Page
Little Lion Man
Lover Of The Light
Thistle & Weeds
Ghosts That We Knew
Awake My Soul (w/ Dawes)
Roll Away Your Stone
Whispers In The Dark
Dust Bowl Dance
With A Little Help From My Friends (w/ Dawes)
OVERALL: Mumford & Sons success does not surprise me in the slightest. They are a fantastic folk band and deserve every bit of success. It makes me happy to know that I cottoned onto them back in 2008 and have witnessed them play in intimate venues compared to the 20k o2 Arena. I did have my reservations of how they could pull of a show like this but I needn’t of worried as they put on something truly spectacular.