I’ve always enjoyed the Lumineers’ music, but I wondered whether their pleasant songs could captivate thousands of people in a live setting. I am happy to report, after Tuesday night’s show at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, that indeed they can.
As a black curtain dropped to reveal a kaleidoscope of colored lights and silver organ pipes, the Lumineers ran onto the stage. Frontman Wesley Shultz’s voice immediately won the crowd over. “Pack yourself a toothbrush, dear!” resonated throughout the venue as the group opened the set with “Sleep on the Floor” from the band’s debut album. After only a moment’s rest, violet light began pulsating over the crowd along with the sound of a bass drum. “Ophelia,” the popular single from their new album Cleopatra, echoed around the auditorium as an eager audience sang along.
The Lumineers made every part of the performance feel special. Before playing their breakout single, “Ho Hey,” Shultz asked audience members to put away their phones, ensuring that screaming out lyrics would be the only task at hand. At one point, the group referenced their humble beginnings, reminiscing about playing shows in a more intimate setting.
The band’s three core members — Schultz along with Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek — left the main stage and reappeared in the center of the floor, surrounded by fans. Now in the round, the band began a soulful rendition of “Where the Skies are Blue,” followed by a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” As soon as the number ended, Shultz instantly appeared alone at the front of the main stage to sing “Slow It Down” alone. Fraites joined Shultz onstage halfway through the ballad, after which the two old friends embraced.
The group finished out their set with cannons of confetti during “Big Parade,” followed by the slower, more emotional “My Eyes.” In the crowd, teenagers waved their phones back and forth in the air, friends swayed with their arms over each other’s shoulders, and old married couples slow-danced in the lights.
The audience remained on their feet throughout the encore all the way to the end of “Stubborn Love.” As I repeated “head up, Love” along with thousands of others, I knew I was experiencing a timeless moment.
Phil Levine is a student at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.