Mumford & Sons kicked off its 15-date summer U.S. tour with the band's first-ever show in New Jersey on Wednesday night, and the British folk foursome made sure that it was a memorable first time -- with a fireworks display to prove it.
Marcus Mumford and his band of gentleman -- Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane -- ran through their chart-topping debut Sigh No More, and managed to play five songs off their forthcoming sophomore album, Babel. Concertgoers were treated to a 15-song set in Hoboken's Pier A Park, overlooking the Manhattan skyline.
The band opened its set with one of the newer tracks, "Lover's Eyes," before performing a spirited rendition of the hit single "Little Lion Man." By the time they roared into the third song, "Roll Away Your Stone," it was clear that Mumford's party could rival even Jay Gatsby's wildest affairs. (The background of the stage was paintings of unicorns.)
After treating the crowd to a fist-pumping, rollicking stomp fest, the band tore into "I Will Wait," a track from Mumford & Sons' forthcoming effort, which sounded like a B-side off Sigh No More. Mumford's fascination with shadows and darkness is still heavily apparent in the band's newer material. However, there's also a refreshing uplifting underbelly that pulsates throughout the new tracks -- something that wasn't always present on Sigh No More. Standout track "Lover of the Light" is the best example of Mumford's lyrical enlightenment, as he howls "I'll be yours if you'll be mine!" on the chorus.
"I Will Wait (Nothing is Written)"
"Lover of the Light"
As for the band's older material, "Timshel" was one of Mumford's strongest arrangements, as all four bandmates' vocals started to blend together in perfect harmony. Meanwhile, Mumford & Sons continued their merry jamboree on "Awake My Soul" and "Dust Bowl Dance."
The British foursome launched into a lively three-song encore, with was preceded by a brass rendition of "New York, New York." Mumford & Sons riled up the crowd with "Winter Winds," before performing a faithful rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer" that had the entire crowd singing "lie la lie" along with them.
Cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer"
The quartet ended their set with crowd favorite "The Cave," after an unsuccessful attempt to squeeze in one more song before the Pier's 10:00 p.m. curfew. Mumford & Sons may have been unsuccessful in their efforts to perform one last song, but they managed to successful surprise the crowd when fireworks were let loose over the Hudson after their stellar finish.
When the Brits come to New Jersey, they pull out all of the stops.
Mumford and Sons will release Babel on Sept. 25. Check out two more new tracks off the album below.
"Whispers in the Dark"
"Ghosts That We Knew"
Mumford & Sons setlist from Pier A in Hoboken, NJ:
"Little Lion Man"
"I Will Wait"
"Roll Away Your Stone"
"Whispers in the Dark"
"White Blank Page"
"Below My Feet"
"I Gave You All"
"Lover of the Light"
"Thistle & Weeds"
"Awake My Soul"
"Dust Bowl Dance"
"New York, New York" (Brass Rendition)
"The Boxer" (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
Mumford & Sons U.S. tour dates:
8/1 Hoboken, NJ – Pier A
8/4 Portland, ME – Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Show with Mumford & Sons and St. Vincent, Dawes, the Maccabees, Apache Relay, Simone Felice and Haim
8/6 Providence, RI – Providence Performing Arts Centre
8/7 Canandaigua, NY – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
8/9 Portsmouth, VA – nTelos Wireless Pavilion
8/11 Bristol, Tennessee – Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Show with Mumford & Sons and Dawes, JEFF the Brotherhood, the Very Best, Apache Relay, Simone Felice, Justin Townes Earl and Haim
8/13 Louisville, KY – Louisville Waterfront Park
8/14 Columbus, OH – The LC Pavilion
8/18 – Dixon, Illinois – Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Show with Mumford & Sons and Gogol Bordello, Dawes, Abigail Washburn, the Very Best, Apache Relay and Haim
8/20 Lincoln, NE – Pinewood Bowl Theatre
8/21 Laramie, WY – Gryphon Theatre
8/22 Magna, UT – The Saltair
8/25 – Monterey, CA – Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Show with Mumford & Sons and Gogol Bordello, the Very Best, Apache Relay and Haim
8/28 Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
8/29 Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
9/1 Aspen, CO – Aspen Jazz Festival