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Concert Reviews:
Mumford & Sons rocks new record crowd at LCA

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019

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DETROIT -- With its platinum albums, hit singles and multiple awards, Mumford & Sons is much more than the little folk-rock band that burst from London a dozen years ago.

And on Wednesday, March 27, it became the biggest draw, so far, in Little Caesars Arena's 18-month history.

Aided by a center-floor stage that allowed for 360-degree ticket sales, Mumford & Sons' crowd of 17,794, while not necessarily a clean sell-out, beat out the previous record set by rapper Jay-Z on Nov. 18, 2017. "It's not a competition, but...," a grinning Marcus Mumford said during Wednesday's encore as he danced a jig on the stage -- quickly adding, "We love Jay-Z...Jay-Z will be back."

And while it's now the biggest, the troupe's hour-and-45 minute concert could also stake a claim as one of the best to play at LCA, too.

Inventively staged and rendered like a pub party in rock 'n' roll concert clothing, Mumford's show was epic in every scale -- even starting with a "welcoming" poem by Detroiter Natasha T. Miller before the band, the core quartet plus five additional players, rolled into the ebb-and-flow of "Guiding Light" from its fourth and latest album, "Delta." Mumford made a long romp high into LCA's lower bowl during "Ditmas," while pyrotechnics accented "Darkness Visible" and "The Wolf."

"Timshel" and "Forever," meanwhile, were performed in another section of the LCA seats, with the four Mumfords huddled around a single microphone and asking for quiet -- which it mostly got, save for the odd call from the crowd.

The group has clearly learned arena-sized tricks well from predecessors, particularly of the likes of Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Coldplay. But Mumford's variety came with its own kind of musical acuity -- bassist Ted Dwane was the only one who played the same instrument all night -- and exuberant geniality. It was easy to feel like the Mumford crew could just have easily been busking on a nearby Woodward Avenue corner.

"Delta" was the start of the night with eight of the 20 songs, but the group delivered plenty of older favorites -- including "The Cave," "Little Lion Man" and "I Will Wait" -- along with a cover of nine inch nails' "Hurt" during the lengthy encore. Just before closing with "Delta's" title track, Mumford told the crowd that "it's been a complete privilege to play for you tonight" -- and the feeling was clearly, and deservedly, mutual. On this particular night, bigger was indeed better for all concerned.

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