By Brad Haynes
It may have been 10 years since Mumford and Sons formed, popularizing an indie-folk sound which was often imitated before taking a back seat to EDM, but the Amway Center crowd made it quite apparent that their love for Marcus Mumford and his bandmates remains strong.
With the stage cloaked in darkness during the opening verses of “Only Love,” the plaintive voice of Mumford cut through the darkness with ease. And when the stage eventually lit up, so did the crowd. Big time.
“It’s been a long time coming baby. We’re so glad we’re here,” Mumford proclaimed as they worked their way into “Little Lion Man” and their very first headlining show in Orlando.
While the stage effects were little more than fog and lighting for most of the show, that was plenty. This show was all about the music. The power in Mumford’s strong and soulful singing voice is unparalleled.
“Roll Away Your Stone” was a definite highlight of the night, sounding like a straight-up bluegrass barn burner with the banjo refrain front and center.
“We’re going to play some newer songs tonight. It’s called “Broad Shouldered Beasts,” Mumford announced as beams of light flooded the crowd. And taking its cue from this new song, the band’s sound also broadened, becoming more electric and featuring an outstanding brass section.
For “Lover of the Light,” Mumford moved behind the drums (this guy can play anything) with the brass section continuing to remain prominent. “Let’s see your hands Orlando,” he requested, adding a percussive surround sound with the entire arena clapping to close out the number.
A call for “light emitting objects,” aka cell phones lighting the arena, led into “Believe.” Eventually the cell phones were overpowered by the pyrotechnics demonstrated on the fog covered stage.
“Real talk just for a second,” Mumford announced while stopping the music for a moment to address the audience. “We went to Disney World today and it was (expletive) amazing! It should be called American Abandon!”
The tempo slowed for the ballads “Ghosts” and “Where Are You Now” before ramping back up with “Snake Eyes” and grabbing the attention of the audience with some blinding effects.
The crowd went crazy for “The Cave,” ready to count down as the tune revved into high gear with confetti showering the crowd as the song rose to its exultant crescendo.
Mumford then made his way through the crowd, and into crowded rows of fans, to physically connect with as many people as possible during the song “Ditmas.” He dropped the mic along the way, but didn’t let that deter him before heading back to the stage to close out the first portion of the show with “Dust Bowl Dance” and a shower of sparks before they returned for their unique encore.
The encore began on a small stage behind the sound board, where Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane gathered around one mic for a truly acoustic experience.
“The more noise you make, the less you can hear,” Mumford warned the Amway Center audience who seemed to have somewhat of a hard time understanding that. Regardless, the band’s harmonies on the two acoustic tunes, “Timshel” and “Awake My Soul,” were gorgeous.
Moving back to the main stage, the show ended with new song “If I Say” and “I Will Wait” and “The Wolf.” But it was clear which song the crowd had been eagerly waiting for, with “I Will Wait” bringing the entire crowd to their feet for widespread clapping and singing.
They closed the show saying they were hoping to be back in Florida again soon, and with new music to share. That’s something every Mumford and Sons fan will be eagerly awaiting.