Concert review: Mumford & Sons

Concert review: Mumford & Sons at the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Guthrie, Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.
BY George Lang glang@opubco.com Published: September 8, 2013
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But most of the crowd was there for Mumford, and the band delivered all the high points from “Sigh No More” and “Babel” and beyond. They instantly pulled in the massive crowd with “Lovers' Eyes” and “Little Lion Man,” and from there, Mumford & Sons went big when it counted (“Lover of the Light,” “Thistle and Weeds”) and small when they knew everyone on the field was paying attention (the a cappella performance of “Sister”). It was an evening when Mumford & Sons proved so masterful of their folk-rock domain that the great T-Bone Burnett, former sideman to Bob Dylan and producer of countless great Americana albums, joined the band of Britons on stage.

Toward the end of the evening, the performances became more loose and playful as members of Bear's Den and the Vaccines, both of whom played earlier in the day, joined the Mumford & Sons for a brassy cover of the Beatles' “Come Together,” and as Mumford promised the crowd “one last song,” every single musician from those two days joined the group for a cover of “With a Little Help From My Friends,” rendered Joe Cocker/Mad Dogs and Englishmen style with roughly 50 people singing and playing. To the entire Gentlemen of the Road lineup's considerable credit, it sounded tight — most singalongs of this stripe are usually amiable train wrecks. But considering that the festival itself was a model of organization, good will, uncommonly great behavior on the part of the audience and cooperation on all fronts, “With a Little Help From My Friends” worked because all the friends — Mumford & Sons and everyone else — were truly helping to make it a fitting end. It was earnest and legendary.