Lumineers Provide Concert Goers With An Up-Close-And-Personal Experience Wednesday Night
I've seen a lot of concerts in my life. Aside from the artist's musical ability, the best ones always have two things in common; the ability for the performers to connect directly with the audience to the point that the audience feels like they're part of the show, and the performer's humility.
All of those things were on full display as the Lumineers took to the stage at the Maine Savings Amphitheater Wednesday night.
The evening began with a wink and a nod from Mother Nature. Forecasted showers had concert-goers nervous at first, but there wasn't a drop of rain from the time concert opener James Bay took the stage, till hours later when the Lumineers sent everyone home with a smile.
Bay warmed the crowd up with a short 8-song set of his hits.
Opening with "Wanderlust," Bay thanked the audience, who seemed very dialed into what he was doing.
By the time he got to "Let It Go" everyone was singing along.
Finishing his set with "Hold Back The River", the stage crew quickly jumped into action constructing the set and stage for the Lumineers.
Of all of the concerts I've seen at the MSA, this was the first time I'd seen it set up this way, with a walkway extending from the main stage, out into the middle of a massive pit.
The entire floor of the amphitheater, which is usually covered with seats, was open for folks to gather around the stage.
And when the band first came out, they came right out into the middle of the space performing "Cleopatra", "Flowers In Your Hair" and "Ho Hey" mostly from the center of the extended stage.
They immediately had the audience's attention, and kept it right in the palm of their hands all evening.
Only the second stop on their Brightside Tour, this band brought energy and musicianship to Bangor and brought it in spades.
Engaging the audience, who were literally at their feet for most of the show, with the ease of musicians who have played together for years.
Founding members of the Denver-based Alternative Folk band, front-man Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites (who pretty much plays every instrument up on the stage, at least once) have been playing together for over 20 years.
Stelth Ulvang, who plays a number of different instruments as well, including the accordion and mandolin, could barely contain his energy and enthusiasm to be performing, and at one point even did a headstand on top of his piano. He's been touring with The Lumineers since 2011.
Newer additions to the band since 2016, the team of Byron Issacs on bass and Brandon Miller on percussion gave all of the songs great percussive emphasis, to the point you really couldn't help but clap along with their beats.
And the newest member, filling the gap the band's original cello player Neyla Pekarek left when she decided to go solo in 2018, Lauren Jacobson stepped right into the shoes, or in her case big, black boots, providing beautiful harmonies both with her voice and with her fiddle.
The band performed 23 songs, including most of their hits, a mash-up of "Leader of the Landslide/You Can't Always Get What You Want" and a Tom Petty cover of Walls.
They connected with the fans, with Schultz even getting down off of the stage at one point, and walking through the crowd while singing. In a day and age, where every other headline about concerts seems to include an indecent of someone throwing something up onto the stage at performers, I found the level of trust Schultz had to be able to do that almost astonishing.
And that place was packed. Especially the seats and the lawn sections, and almost every specialty and VIP Box was teaming with people.
This was a band full of musicians first. You could tell they were talented, most of them swapping between multiple instruments throughout the evening.
They included the crowd in the experience, and rather than just playing to them, they brought them into the experience with a number of moments of call-and-response, which fans were all too happy to take part in.
Lacking noticeable arrogance, the humility of a group of artists enjoying each other's company, and respecting one another and the folks who had come to see them made the entire experience a very positive one.
When they sent up a plume of ticker tape, just before their encore, the entire space filled with smiles.
Ending the evening with Stubborn Love, and a bunch of high-fives and group hugs, concert-goers at stops to come on this tour have quite a bit to look forward to.
A definite job well done.
There were definitely a lot of cool tattoos on display a the concert. Here are some cool ones with Maine themes that we like.