I’m a little behind in writing about this, but last Wednesday I saw Mumford and Sons in concert for the third time. I went with my friends Laura, Lindsey, Chinwe, and Jaclyn. The concert was completely sold out, and I think Merriweather is a little delusional about how many people can actually fit on their lawn unless they are considering the standing room only capacity. Of course every has blankets and spreads out a bit, so people who arrived later had a hard time finding a spot. I saw people arriving in large groups at the end of the second opening band and just laughed at them because there was no way they were finding a spot. Thanks to rush hour traffic plus an Orioles game it took us an hour and half to get to Merriweather, which is insane since it should take about 30 minutes. There was still space when we got there, but we were pretty close to the back of the lawn.
Despite the crowds unlike last time I was at Merriweather for a Mumford and Sons show we had our space marked out and it was fine even though every inch of space off of our blanket was taken up by someone else. When I saw them back in 2011 at Merriweather a freak thunderstorm resulted in us getting hailed on and all of our belongings including our blankets winding up in a soaking wet pile. Pretty much everyone pulled up their blankets to shield themselves and after that it was all over. There was no demarcation of space and the crowd was super annoying and just trampling all over our stuff. It was not really the best experience.
Aside from the weather last time, I do have to say that I preferred that actual concert to this one. This was my least favorite of the three times I’ve seen them, the first time being in Arizona also in 2011 during their Railroad Revival Tour. It was pretty much based on their set list I think. The weather was great, the company was great, the music was ok. I know a lot of people are down on their third banjoless album, but that was not it for me. I actually like the new album and prefer it to their second one. I think the problem was that they really front-loaded the set with all of their slower songs. It was like they went through their albums and said let’s play every slow song we’ve ever written during this set. It wasn’t really what I was expecting from a Mumford and Sons concert, and I felt a real lack of energy at the show which should not have been the case especially with a sold out crowd.They did finally pep it up at the end, but by that point it was a case of too little, too late for me.
Had I been expecting a night to sit out on a blanket and just listen to some good music it would have been great, but based on my past experiences I was ready to be up on my feet for 2 hours dancing. Instead I was up on my feet for 2 hours standing there. I think the camera man also hurt the show for me as well. As I said we were pretty far back on the lawn such that I couldn’t actually really see the stage from our vantage point, which meant I was relying on the screens to see what was actually happening down there. For whatever reason the camera man shooting the video for those screens pretty much cut it off between songs so you couldn’t see the stage when they were talking to the audience between songs. That was annoying, and then during some of the faster songs s/he was trying to be too creative and doing crazy cuts between all the people up on the stage. I just wanted to see what was happening on the stage instead of being subjected to an epileptic fit inducing camera work.
The final issue I think is that the Florence + the Machine concert I saw at Merriweather the night before this one was so incredible that this one just didn’t live up to that experience. I hate to pit acts against each other like that, but the Florence show was still so fresh in my mind that this one just paled in comparison and made it seem even more disappointing than it was. I still had a great time and would definitely see Mumford and Sons live again. I think this was just a case of a show that was good, but not great and which was going to have to meet some pretty high standards to meet my expectations anyway.