The Lumineers concert is what I imagine to be the antithesis of a Kanye West concert — the lights and set were simple, there were no backup dancers, just the band and their instruments ruling the floor. The band filled the Schottenstein Center, their biggest venue yet, lead singer Wesley Schultz told the audience.
Despite being in such a large arena, the entire crowd was on their feet from the moment the Lumineers opened with “Submarines.”
Andrew Bird opened the show. It was an enjoyable, but forgettable performance. His sound is quite similar to the Lumineers, which made me anxious to hear them and made the wait from the 7 p.m. start time to 9:15 p.m., when The Lumineers took the stage, worse. I know it’s standard, but I get impatient. The opening was unsatisfying as it was similar to the headlining band, but not the real thing. Andrew Bird’s time to shine actually came later when he joined The Lumineers on stage for a few songs, notably “This Must Be The Place.”
The band played many of their biggest hits, such as “Ho Hey” and “Cleopatra” near the beginning of their set, a decision that made the concert feel a lot more relaxed. There wasn’t the huge anticipation as the audience waits to hear the hits many of them came most excited to hear. They were played, and then everyone could relax and truly enjoy the rest of the show. About halfway through the concert, the band moved out to a small, raised stage in the middle of the floor, which maintained the more intimate feel their smaller venues had in the past.
Schultz spoke before many of the songs, explaining the inspiration behind them, much of it family. He sweetly described “Cleopatra” as a tribute to strong women, inspired by his mother, who went to the Women’s March with his wife two weeks ago. These stories coupled with the simple set and the temporary move to the floor stage made me take in each song with new light. I realized even more that they are songs about real lives and real people.
The Lumineers’ “Cleopatra World Tour” highlighted the joy of listening to great live music, as cheesy as that may sound. No backing tracks, no costumes, just musicians and their desire to share. It was authentic.
My only wish was that their characteristically short songs were longer so I could enjoy the show longer, and that the concert was outdoors on a summer night — a more fitting setting for The Lumineers’ sound. But regardless, the January air felt a bit softer on the walk home.