“Shall we have a dance?” Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford and Sons asked before strumming the opening of their debut album’s first single “Little Lion Man.” The light bulbs strung above the audience flickered on and 3,000 voices roared in approval. On November 16, Mumford and Sons played the final sold-out gig of their US and Canada fall tour, “Gentlemen of the Road,” at Terminal 5 in New York. Accompanying them on this 20-date tour were King Charles, who is a Londoner with a full mane of dreads, and Cadillac Sky, a five man Texan band with a sound that is a unique blend of bluegrass, rock ‘n roll and country.
With the house lights dimmed and to the cheers of the audience, Mumford and Sons stepped into the spotlight and began their first song, “Sigh, No More.” The four members of the band were standing in a row across the stage, each with their respective instruments: keyboard, guitar, dobro and string bass. Their voices were sincere and by the end of the first song, they had the crowd entranced.
Before beginning the quietest song on their album and of the set that night, “Timshel”, Marcus bantered a bit with the concertgoers. He asked them quite politely whether they were enjoying themselves and then suggested, “Let’s go fucking mental.” To Mumford and Sons, going mental clearly meant closing their tour in North America with as much effort and passion as possible. By the end of the song, both Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett had tears streaming down their cheeks. The look on their faces as they gazed at the crowd was one of amazement and proud achievement. It was evident to them that they had made it and that tonight was proof of their success. Going “mental” also meant ending the night by inviting both of the opening bands back out to play a spirited rendition of King Charles’ song “Lady on the River.” In the middle of the encore, King Charles declared that he had something to say, and after the other 13 musicians had quieted down, announced that he was giving his song to Mumford and Sons. It was a well-received gift.
The people packed together on the ground floor and lining the two balconies contributed to the exuberant energy of the concert. Many songs were transformed into massive sing-a-longs. Accompanying the band’s earnest vocals were the voices of many fans in love with what they were hearing. At the end of “Dust Bowl Dance,” the final song of their set, Marcus sings, “You haven’t met me, I am the only—” and the audience finishes the line—"son."
This tour has been evidence of the band’s popularity globally and not just in their home country of England. It has also clearly been encouragement for them to press on and go even further: produce another album and tour the world again. Most of Mumford and Sons’s debut album “Sigh No More” was played that night at Terminal 5, but so were three new songs, two of which are entitled “Lover of the Light” and “Below My Feet” which are expected to be recorded sometime next year. Shortly before closing the night, Ben Lovett told the audience, “We would love to come back next year.” New York would love that too.