Photography by Jack Wisialowski
By Lauren Surbey, Staff Writer
Artist: The Lumineers
Venue: Xfinity Center
When: Friday, June 3rd
At an outdoor venue in the pouring rain emerged the Lumineers from under the stage in their signature top hats and suspenders. With Jeremiah Fraites on the drums and Wesley Schultz behind the mic, the band opened with the title track of their 2022 album, Brightside. Fans cheered and sang along as the rest of the band settled onto the stage. As the song ended, Schultz yelled into the microphone, “We’re going to have a fun time tonight Boston!”
And he was right. The boho band put on an incredibly fluid performance. From Schultz stepping off the stage to sing with the audience to barefoot band member Stelth Ulvang stomping on the piano, the Lumineers kept everyone on their toes. That night, everyone became a folk artist.
FOLK’S FREEING FEELINGS
Heart-pounding and hand-clapping is guaranteed at just about any concert. But the Lumineers didn’t put on just any concert. They jumped into the crowd, ran barefoot on the stage, and laid their bodies down on the stage platform as it poured rain above. They hugged each other in the dark after a song finished. And they danced all over the stage while playing the violin and the tambourine. They were immersive, intimate, and freeing.
Every performance they did had me thinking ‘this was their best song of the night.’ And every song, I was wrong and blown away by something better. What ultimately stuck out to me most prominently was their performance of “Leader of the Landslide.” Every band member paused mid-song like they were in a play, waiting for the audience to scream loud enough to continue playing.
The indie band also did a call-and-response with their audience while they performed “A.M. Radio” from their most recent album. “Long as you run” sang Schultz as he waited for the crowd to yell “I couldn’t give you up!”
But the band didn’t forget about their previous albums. They sang their hit song “Ho Hey” from their debut album, The Lumineers, almost immediately after their opening song. And they reminded their fans that “Flowers in Your Hair,” from the same album, was the first song they wrote, and was officially 10 years old.
In fact, the Lumineers made it clear that they are just as appreciative of their fans as fans are of them. “10 years ago it was hard for us to even get gigs,” singer Schultz proclaimed to his audience. “I can assure you that we don’t take you for granted.”
Throughout the concert, a little girl and her mother stood in front of me. In the middle of the show, she started shouting to her mom “they’re going to play Ophelia!” and they recklessly danced together once they found out they were right.
A husband and wife next to me became friends with the couple behind them as they yelled, “We’ve seen them before at the House of Blues, they were great!”
A staff member of Live Nation guiding the lines ran up to a little boy praising him. “Is this someone’s first concert?” she yelled to him excitedly.
The audience was radiant before the Lumineers even started their performance.
Behind the band was a giant screen where key scenes of their music videos played during each song they sang. “Ophelia” was one of them, coming after their song “Angela,” the two interconnected by a storyline. Their album Cleopatra was the start of the chain of music videos in 2016, followed by their album III in 2019. And every performance lived up to the expectations of those videos, if not better.
A TRIBUTE TO TOM PETTY
Schultz called the show’s opener, Columbus-based band Caamp, to the stage to sing their cover of Tom Petty’s “Walls” together. The Lumineers asked the audience if they liked Tom Petty, and the Xfinity Center went wild. The band told them to sing along if they knew the song, and you could barely hear the two collective bands performing together. The Lumineers sang the first verse and Caamp sang the next one, and they united to sing the chorus of the song. It truly felt like the lyrics, “you got a heart so big, it could crush this town,” embodied how the audience felt that night.
EVERYONE’S CAR CRASH; A MESSAGE OF ASSURANCE
Before the Lumineers performed “Where We Are” from Brightside, Schultz stopped to tell the story behind the song. He explained that he was driving in the rain with his wife when their car hydroplaned. He told fans that they were shocked to be alive then, and that strangers ran up to their flipped car scared for their lives, expecting to find people dead in the car. When strangers approached the car though, they found the two “laughing, smoking cigars together.”
Schultz then said to the audience that although the song is specific to that moment, it really feels like everyone has gone through their own car crashes over the past two years. The song was a reassurance to the fans, “I don’t know where we are, but it will be okay.”