There’s something especially comforting about seeing Mumford & Sons at the end of 2018. In year where everything has been a non-stop flurry of chaos and absolute what-the-fuckery, when it comes to the wildly popular British alt/folk rockers, you know what you’re getting. This isn’t a diss: it’s gratefulness for a consistently pleasant distraction from the real world today.
A Mumford & Sons show is now — as it has always been — a foot-stomping, sing-along sort of affair. That’s not to say this tour — named after their fourth studio album, Delta — isn’t ambitious.
In fact, it’s their biggest yet, complete with a massive setup (if you’re able to get tickets along the extended sides of the stage for incomparable views) and even a dash of pyrotechnics. It’s exactly the kind of tour that will solidify their spot in the pantheon of arena-friendly bands like U2 and Coldplay.
The U.S. leg of the Delta Tour kicked off on at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center to a sold-out crowd on Friday (Dec. 7), beginning with a joyous opening set from Maggie Rogers.
The dazzling singer-songwriter was clearly having the time of her life, telling the crowd that, as a Maryland native, she used to attend concerts right in the very building where she was now on stage.
Rogers wasn’t the only one who was psyched to be there: as soon as lead singer Marcus Mumford hit the stage, he expressed how happy he was to be touring the States and promised the Philadelphians in attendance, “We’re gonna have a party tonight.”
Starting with their latest single, “Guiding Light,” Mumford and Co. followed it up immediately with the song that put them on the map: “Little Lion Man.” And that seemed to be the theme of the night: a happy medium mix of new (including “The Wild,” “If I Say,” and “Darkness Visible”) and old and everything in between.
Mumford was especially engaged with the crowd, at one point running through the audience during the rollicking “Ditmas,” and asked one particularly noisy Philadelphian (yep, just the one) to provide a quieter atmosphere for an unplugged version of “Timshel.”
He made it a point on Friday night, time and time again — between fan favorites like “Babel,” “The Cave,” “Lover of the Light,” “Tompkins Square Park” and “Roll Away Your Stone” — to tell fans that he was grateful for the job that he has. It’s noticeable, too, when the frontman chuckles or gets swept up in the moment of tens of thousands of people singing his songs back to him.
While the band did what they do best for a solid two hours, the highlight came when opener Maggie Rogers joined them for a rendition of “Awake My Soul.” Mumford, no doubt, has a certain sameness with their sound, so to have Rogers’ goosebump-worthy voice in the mix gave it a thrilling jolt of new energy.
The four-song encore, which included the Rogers appearance, was actually more daring than I’m giving it credit for. While they could have easily ended the show with the crowd-pleasing “I Will Wait,” they played a new one — the aforementioned “Delta” — to close it all out.
Even more telling: there was no mass exodus for the parking lot or groans of disbelief. Fans were there until the very end, and as Marcus Mumford earnestly expressed throughout, he’s gonna stick around and do this for them for as long as he possibly can. What a comforting thing.