By Alice Boone, Class of 2016
September 9, 2013 marked a historic night in Birmingham, Alabama. On that night in The Magic City, three sold out concerts took place: Hanson with Paul McDonald, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Mumford and Sons. I chose to attend Mumford and Sons and boy, did I choose wisely.
Bear’s Den opened the show with a short set that resembled a toned down version of Mumford. Next, British rock band The Vaccines took the stage. Their set was loud and enthusiastic, but they failed to engage with the crowd and their lyrics were difficult to decipher. My favorite part of The Vaccines’ set was when Marcus Mumford made a surprise appearance to sing and play a tambourine furiously. While I enjoyed both openers to an extent, I was counting down the minutes until Mumford started playing.
The lights dimmed. The excitement in the stands was almost tangible. I could barely make out four silhouettes ambling onto the stage. In total darkness, the opening lines of Lover’s Eyes began to float over the audience. On the drop of the first chorus, purple and blue lights flooded the amphitheater. At the end of the second chorus, the stage lights exploded, finally revealing the four Brits we had all been waiting in anticipation to see. The show continued at a spectacular pace. Marcus, Ted, Winston, and Ben played with incredible energy and were able to engage the crowd in every song.
As soon as “Little Lion Man” began, the lights that had been strung from the top of the radio towers to the stage lit up. The strings of bulbs flashed on and off throughout the song, keeping in time with the beat. With the change in song came a change colors that followed its mood.
Each hit brought a fresh wave of energy and enthusiasm that rippled through the countless rows of fans.
They decided to tone it down a notch and leave their backing musicians behind to do an acoustic set. The ballad “Reminder” closed that set and it was beautiful. Soon after, the band left the stage and in turn left the crowd screaming for more.
Mumford took the stage yet again, bringing out Bear’s Den and The Vaccines to help them sing “a new song by an up and coming band we’re trying to support.” They dove in to an smashing rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together”. It was my favorite Beatles song I’ve seen besides Paul McCartney’s rendition “Live and Let Die.”
Following that electrifying cover, Marcus decided that since it was the band’s first time in this state, it was only right that they should play Sweet Home Alabama. There was only one problem, not one member knew the lyrics! They pulled a random fan from the crowd to sing with them, and the audience was in for a pleasant surprise. The nervous fan sang his heart out and did not disappoint with his surprising talent.
The concert came to a smashing close, and no one was ready to leave. Its rare that I see a band with such passion and it was quite a treat. From the fast tempo strumming if the stringed instruments, to the wide range of vocals, to the hilarious comments about Alabama’s beauty and heat, Mumford made sure their followers got their money’s worth.
Mumford gave a phenomenal performance in Pelham, Alabama, that night with their outstanding music, powerful vocals, and amazing accents. In simpler terms, Mumford and Sons rocked Pelham’s face off. It was definitely a night that none of the of the 11,000 attendees will soon forget.