Mumford & Sons play The O2 arena

mumford and sons
mumford and sons Image credit:

It seems like only a months ago Mumford & Sons played a small concert, by their standards, in Camden; probably due to the fact it was actually in September we caught Mumford, Winston, Ben and Ted performing in front of 3,000 people at the iTunes festival.

With this year coming to a close the London lads are starting to put small venues behind them as they play the first of two sold out nights at London’s O2 arena, but this is only the crouching position as they leapfrog into a new year where they will reach stratospheric heights. Already on the 2013 agenda are... a slot at Glastonbury and a headline billing at T in the Park.

Somehow though we expect those marketing the band already predict they have an act which is happy to peruse leftfield routes when it comes to live appearances. For starters the tour isn’t overlooked by your mainstream promoter as the tickets show tonight’s gig is promoted by ‘Gentleman of The Road’ the same title as their mini touring festival which they embarked on over the summer, then there’s the complimentary newspapers with their master-heads bearing the same name which adds weight to the fact the band can’t help themselves with creative plans which broadens the Mumford live experience.

Those familiar with their shows will know the decor, fairly lights dangling from the venue ceiling capturing that hoe down vibe, although such atmosphere maybe in lost in next year’s fields, partly due to the huge capacity, partly due to the fact there’s nowhere to attach lights at an open air festival.

The show commences with the guys silhouettes behind a red curtain, embroidered with the Gentleman of The Road logo (naturally) as the opening chords of Babel are bellowed out from Marcus Mumford’s powerful voice which seems to strengthen upon every tour. The crowd’s patience’s don’t require testing for another favourite track as I Will Wait swiftly follows.

The appropriately titled ‘Winter Winds’ on this bitterly cold night, blows into the arena next which cascades into ‘Below My Feet’. We are just four numbers in and already the sound of clapping hands which welcomes each track shows the loyal following Mumford & Sons have picked up since they embarked on their musical career in 2007.

‘This is the biggest inside gig in the world we’ve played so far, it’s quite an experience’ Marcus tells the 20,000 gig goers, the last time he was at the venue was being part of the crowd watching Led Zeppelin perform their legendary final performance. Of course, the statement is echoed back with roars of cheers, crowd participation never falls throughout their 100 minute set even when keyboardist Ben attempts to introduce ‘Timshel’ as a quiet song.

A more welcome invitation to dance has a couple of thousand R.S.V.P’s when the crowd roars into party atmosphere to the delights of ‘Little Lion Man ‘and the joyfulness continues to the sounds of ‘Lover of the Light’

Despite being a Grammy award winning band the lads are still prone to wardrobe malfunctions and tonight Marcus has to keep fastening his loose top button, promising to the crowd he’s not undoing his shirt at irregular interviews throughout the set the fully dressed front-man threads his men through a string of three more uplifting numbers. The first seam sees him play a guitar solo for ‘Ghosts That We Knew’ the second, ‘Awake My Soul’ is interrupted by a dragon (Piff the magic Dragon – one of tonight’s support acts) who come on stage holding a cake and Mr. Piffles – who is one of their roadies, despite having four legs, barks and a waggerly tail! And the third track sees a more sedate performance for ‘Roll Away Your Stone’.

After an almighty outing of ‘Dust Bowl Dance’ the band exit the main stage and remerge from the back of the venue to play on a second, much smaller platform for two acoustic numbers, (My Love Don’t Fade Away & Sister), both of which are nearly buried inside the crowds endless appreciation.

The set wraps up, back on the main stage, with ‘The Cave’ and a cover of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’. We suspect Mumford & Sons won’t be strangers to arenas for much longer, come to think of it we wouldn’t be surprised if The O2 rebrands to ‘Gentleman of The Road Arena’ by the way things are going!