11th August 2018.
To quote the 4 Seasons, ‘oh what a night’.
This was the first time I’d ever seen Mumford and Sons, live that is, and I’m not being dramatic when I was it was magic.
Frankly, I’m not sure my life’s been the same since.
I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember, even choreographed dances to a few songs back in my dancing days. But for some reason, seeing Mumford and Sons just didn’t seem possible.
I have no idea, I’ve been very fortunate to have seen all sorts of artists live, but they seemed so far out of reach.
That was until I discovered Sziget Festival via an Instagram ad in 2018, late to the party I know. 30 minutes later, I’d convinced my mate to come to Budapest with me for a week that Summer.
And who was a crowning glory on that lineup you might ask? You guessed it, Mumford and Sons.
I thought I was emotionally prepared. I’d been joking to my friend about it in the run up to the festival, how I’d probably cry etc. etc.
Well I wasn’t.
As soon as Marcus uttered the opening lines of 42, I was done for.
At least I thought I was, then came Little Lion Man and I was truly gone. The whole set I was in a state of pure bliss. I sang (probably screamed), I cried, I danced, I fell in love with them all over again.
Now you may be think, crikey this girl is crazy. This is all very dramatic.
That may well be true.
But I assure you, and if you’ve seen Mumford and Sons live before – you’ll back me up, it’s just an epic experience.
There’s an energy in the crowd that is unlike no other, an energy in the band that is like no other. They’re there to have a great time, you’re there to have a great time, they want you to have an epic time. And my God, it truly shows.
The set list ensued with White Blank Page, Lover of the Light, Tompkins Square Park, Believe & Awake My Soul.
Awake My Soul was a particularly special moment. The band brought out Lianna La Havas (who’s performed earlier that way) to sing it with them, and it was BEAUTIFUL. An utterly gorgeous rendition of an already gorgeous song.
One of the things you have to admire about Mumford and Sons, perhaps Marcus Mumford in particular, is their ability to hold a crowd. Whether it’s having them go ‘fucking mental’ to quote Marcus himself, or having them in complete silence. The crowd is utterly captivated and utterly at the mercy of the band.
I think it’s possibly one of the most special aspects. Not only does it allow their energy penetrate the crowd, there is an overwhelming sense of unity that comes as a result.
The absolute corker of a show continued with the likes of Broad-Shouldered Beasts, Woman (debut from the (then) new ‘Delta’ album), The Cave, Ditmas and finally Dust Bowl Dance.
I find myself strangely comfortable in crowds at gigs, festivals etc. I would go as far to say they are one of my happy places. But I far surpassed that during this set, I have to say.
Now I thought all of that was pretty special.
Then came the encore.
The encore began with another debut from the (then) new ‘Delta’ album, Only Love. A brilliant choice to line up the true climax of the show.
Guiding Light also had it’s debut, followed by I Will Wait and then finally, The Wolf.
MY GOSH, WHAT AN ENDING.
Again, not to sound dramatic but it was pretty fucking euphoric.
There were some pretty brief descriptions there, and maybe even some generalisation over songs. But, trust me, if I went in song by song we’d be here for months – it’s already taken me long enough to write this post, so best to leave it (for now at least).
I was lucky enough to see Mumford and Sons the following November, I took my Dad for his birthday. Really, it was a bit of a selfish move because I was chomping at the bit to see them again. But he absolutely loved it (thank god haha).
And I (obviously) absolutely loved it.
It was just as magical second time round.
It only confirmed to me that they’re a band I could see forever and ever, without getting bored. That was the last time I had the pleasure of seeing them live, and I hope to God it isn’t the last.
Being able to capture and put into words just how truly epic their shows are is hard.
Really bloody hard.
But I hope I’ve done it even the slightest bit of justice for you all x
(P.S. Please forgive me, that photo is actually from Liam Gallagher’s set. I got to carried away at M&S that I don’t actually have any photo/video evidence that I was actually there. Apart from the singular, poor quality, photo you can find below — sorry!)