50 Years of SPAC: Mumford & Sons Sells Out Saratoga’s Historic Venue

Mumford & Sons brought an eclectic, sold-out show to Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, June 15, making it the first sold-out show of SPAC’s 50th season. The band’s set covered predominantly songs from their 2015 album Wilder Mind, while also throwing in hits from their more folk-influenced debut Sigh No More.

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Mumford & Sons opened with “Snake Eyes,” soon after followed by “Little Lion Man,” bringing the entirety of the audience to their feet. As Marcus Mumford sang the chorus, it was often difficult to discern his voice from the shouts of the crowd singing along.  The audience continued singing and standing through the close of “Little Lion Man,” into “Below My Feet,” off the band’s second album Babel.

Marcus Mumford was energetic and engaged throughout: perhaps most impressively, he often swapped from playing guitar to drums, such as in “Lover of the Light.” Between songs, the band sparingly addressed the crowd, occasionally invoking some humor by bringing up topics such as the Euros.

In the middle of the set, the band was joined on stage by Senegalese performer Baaba Maal, who sang two songs with Mumford & Sons. Maal took the vocals on “Si tu veux,” and then swapped vocals, singing with Mumford on “There Will Be Time.” The audience was less engaged during this portion of the set, perhaps from not yet knowing the songs, but most remained standing throughout.

“The Cave” soon followed Maal’s exit, capturing the crowd fully, again making Mumford’s voice hard to discern from the singing along. As “The Cave” blended into “Ditmas,” Mumford left the stage to run up the aisles and through the lawn, before returning for “Dust Bowl Dance,” once again taking up the drums, as sparks poured down behind the band.

The band played a four song encore, joined again by Baaaba Maal,” before closing with “I Will Wait,” and “The Wolf.”

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While many older songs such as “Little Lion Man,” “The Cave,” “White Blank Page,” and “Dust Bowl Dance” received the most prominent singing along and ovations, reactions to new songs such as “The Wolf” and “Ditmas” demonstrated that fans are still committed to Mumford & Sons evolving sound.

Johannesburg, a five-track collaborative “mini album” with Baaba Maal, recorded during the band’s 2016 South African tour, was released June 17.

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Set list: Snake Eyes, Little Lion Man, Below My Feet, Monster, White Blank Page, Lover of the Light, Tompkins Square Park, Believe, Ghosts That We Knew, Si tu veux (with Baaba Maal), There Will Be Time (with Baaba Maal), The Cave, Ditmas, Dust Bowl Dance

Encore: Hot Gates, Wona (with Baaba Maal), I Will Wait, The Wolf