The Lumineers Light Up Budweiser Gardens
As their hit Slow It Down says, “Some love was made for the lights...” Londoners proved that on Wednesday night when The Lumineers lit up the stage at Budweiser Gardens.
The crowd was full, and so was I. After a delicious dinner at Fitz Rays restaurant (courtesy of the $25 in Downtown Dollars provided by Downtown London! for the #BGReviewer experience,) we walked in to Budweiser Gardens hungry for only one thing: The Lumineers.
The concert kicked-off with the first opener, Susto. I had never heard of them until Wednesday, but their performance was both captivating and enticing. Their music had relatable lyrics and messages and was almost soothing, yet I still caught myself head-banging as they rocked through their set.
Next up was Kaleo. I haven’t been listening to them for long, but the first time I heard their music I was hooked. They had so much energy throughout their entire performance, and really focused on getting the crowd engaged. Instructing the 9,000-10,000 people in the arena to clap to a synchronized beat, made me as an audience member feel like we were key members in their band. Just when you thought they were done, they had one song left to play for us. With their mission of getting the crowd pumped for the headlining act- they succeeded by closing with their hit “Rock n’ Roller.” I’ve been to a lot of concerts and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd so excited for an opening act. It was evident that these shoes could not have been filled by any other band.
Finally, after waiting what seemed like forever to see what was behind the big black curtain, The Lumineers took the stage, as well as my whole heart. Opening with Submarines from their first record, the aquatic imagery and lightshow they had going on in the background was visually appealing; even though all eyes were on the band.
Wasting no time at all, the band sucked the crowd right in by playing the fan-favourite Ho Hey; leaving us captivated as they moved into the title track of their second album and their first ever North American arena tour- Cleopatra.
Lead singer Wesley Schultz shared with the audience that the title track was inspired by his mom, being the strong woman she always has been. Things got really personal when Schultz started introducing Gun Song, a song he wrote after his dad had passed away. Sharing the personal story gave the performance so much more emotional context; it was clear when he said “I have so many questions that I realized I will never get the answer to,” really hit home with audience members as there were tears shed around me.
The band’s entire performance felt as if I was reading a story book for the first time, their music and words painting a picture I’ve never seen, but yet felt like the cover of my family photo album. I’ve never had an experience where even though there were thousands of other people in the arena, I felt like I was alone in the room with only the band. While The Lumineers moved things to a small, centre stage; I imagined how nostalgic it must have felt alluding to the memories of performing in much smaller venues.
His incredible vocals were not the only thing coming from Schultz’s mouth that got roaring applause: during Big Parade, the lead singer changed the lyrics of the presidential chorus from “Vote for him, the candidate” to openly stating “I didn’t vote for him” talking about President Trump. The President seems to be a popular topic on many tours across the country as Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day (who performed at Bud Gardens last Sunday) had statements to make recently regarding the election as well.
Jeremiah’s piano solo Patience is a musical masterpiece that I was very happy they included in the setlist, and made an amazing interlude before the encore. The lead singer spoke about how this was their first time in London, Ontario and started into Long Way From Home, explaining how he never thought that song would be played live in a coffee shop, let alone an arena full of almost 10,000 people.
Between the music they played and the stories that were shared, the lead singer of The Lumineers remained incredibly humble and grateful for the opportunity to be where he was Wednesday night.
The songs they chose for the encore were no coincidence- including their cover of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, and closing with their hit Stubborn Love. The blend of lyrics stood out to me most:
“Time is running out, but I’m a long way from home” – Long Way From Home
“Home is where I want to be, but I’m already there” – Subterranean Homesick Blues
Which brings me to my encore:
I know it was a long way… but I’m glad you played in our home.
Your forever fan,