"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often" Winston Chrurchill.
Now, that's all well and good, Mr Churchill, but for a lot of people change is something to be feared. After all, why would anyone want to change a winning formula?
Mumford And Sons did.
How easy it would have been for M&S - actually, let's stick to Mumford and Sons - to continue as they were. Continue to don the baggy shirts, the questionable hats, the double bass, the acoustic guitars and, of course, the infamous and criminally underused banjo. Continue to dominate the indie-folk-pop world with their undeniably effective formula of songwriting from albums one and two. "Not on my watch!" shouts Winston Churchill from a lofty height.
Mumford and Sons brought their new, electric, rock album 'Wilder Mind' to the intimate and subtle surroundings of The O2 Arena this week and it was a celebration of change. The new album has added a brand new dimension to the band's live set and has ensured they are the most exciting live band in the world right now.
Kicking off with the sublime Snake Eyes, which is tailor-made for an opening number, with its slow burning, electric guitar-led energy before flying into the absolutely gigantic I Will Wait, those who were unsure as to how the new songs would fit alongside the 'classics' were too busy singing along, arms aloft, to even notice. This was an exhibition in live performance and the band, supported by an array of incredibly talented musicians (including a Noah and the Whale member.), have created an almost perfect set.
Awake My Soul and Thistle and Weeds transform from album tracks into mid-set highlights, as their gentle and welcoming introductions build into something bigger than the arena itself. The new album material allows the band to showcase a different side and Tompkins Square Park and Ditmas are undoubtedly the best moments from the album. It's during Ditmas that Marcus Mumford decides stages are overrated and runs off stage, down the side of the O2 and straight into the middle of the several thousand standing. He fights his way through the crowd, whilst somehow still singing, before emerging at the very front dancing and singing with the shocked punters.
After a beautiful mini-set on a stage next to the sound desk using just one microphone which, if you were standing close by, must've sounded and looked incredible, it was time to Mumford to offer one last set of proof as to their live show credentials. An unexpected and impressive cover of Mr Bruce Springsteen was followed by the war cry that is Little Lion Man - an undoubted highlight of the evening.
And, as the band depart after an incredibly energetic rendition of The Wolf, one rather elderly lady in front of me sums it up beautifully;
"Goodness gracious me".
Winston Churchill was right.
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