Mumford & Sons went back to their beginnings Sunday night (Aug. 25), playing for a crowd of less than 200 people at the iconic The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, New York, made possible by SiriusXM and Pandora.
“As pretty much every other band does, we started off in rooms just like this, so it feels pretty good to be on this stage,” the group’s Ben Lovett told the crowd. Frontman Marcus Mumford later added, “It’s really special to get to come back and play, especially in rooms so hallowed as this one. You can feel it in the walls.”
Mumford urged the crowd to put their phones away at the very beginning of the band’s 90-minute set (“It’d be nice to just be present together for a while,” he said), and though fans couldn’t resist during hits like “Little Lion Man,” for the most part they obliged. They also listened when Mumford requested silence as the four members sang “Timshel” and “Reminder” around one mic — a bit they’ve done on their most recent arena tour, but was clearly meant for a setting like The Stephen Talkhouse.
Mumford took advantage of his ability to hush the crowd once more when he excitedly shared that England had won an important game of cricket over Australia in The Ashes series earlier that day. “Can you shut the fuck up and let me talk about cricket for a minute?” he said with a smile. “The game last five days — you wouldn’t get it, with your quick American minds.”
Along with Mumford’s quips, the small space allowed for his vocals and the group’s harmonies to shine, with more dynamic parts of songs like “The Cave” and “Believe” reverberating in the room. It had clearly been a while since they performed for a room that small, though, as Mumford got a little carried away with some of the performances: “I’m really sorry for spitting on you,” he laughed as he pointed at one front-row audience member after “Roll Away Your Stone.” But those who got to witness the once-in-a-lifetime Mumford & Sons performance could’ve cared less that they might have been spit or sweat on, as they’re typically playing for rooms of 16,000 people.
Longtime fans were excited about the several deep cuts Mumford & Sons dished out among the 19 songs they played, including “White Blank Page” from 2009’s Sigh No More as well as “Below My Feet” and “Ghosts That We Knew” from their Grammy-winning 2013 album, Babel. Ironically, one of the night’s most excitement-inducing moments was when Mumford & Sons played a song that wasn’t even their own, Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” — likely both due to the proximity to the legend’s native New Jersey, and the fact that the band doesn’t often play the cover (a shame, because they do a fantastic rendition).
Closing out the show with their biggest hit to date, “I Will Wait,” and the title track from their 2018 album Delta, Mumford’s finale was a reminder of their ability to wow no matter whether it’s a chart-topper or a deep cut. But frankly, in a venue that size, Mumford & Sons could’ve sung the alphabet and it would’ve been incredible. Luckily, they opted for (mostly) their own tunes, and made it a night that no one in the room would forget.
Mumford & Sons’ The Stephen Talkhouse Set List
Below My Feet
Tompkins Square Park
Ghosts That We Knew
White Blank Page
Roll Away Your Stone
Rose of Sharon
I’m On Fire
Little Lion Man
I Will Wait