Jack Garratt was on stage first at Manchester Arena, coming onto the stage with just a drum pad, an electric guitar and his brilliant voice, making for a great warm up for what was going to come. Jack looked out into the crowd after his first song and was taken aback but how many thousands of people were staring and cheering at him, you could see in the way he moved and his facial expressions that he was more than just a performer, this is a guy who truly cares about what he does.
The lights faded to black as thousands of Mumford & Sons fans filled the arena with cheers, dramatic strings and brass played out and two cinema style screens were hung up at either side of the stage for those who wanted a better view. The London lads played a few of their newer songs and inevitably played some of their classics that threw people back into a nostalgic trance.
Part way into their set, Marcus Mumford spoke up: “This one’s called ‘Believe’, so put your lighters and phone lights in the air”. The entire arena was illuminated – it was as if the night sky had fallen into the venue. After the song ended, Marcus thanked the crowd and noted that “Maybe it’s just a Northern thing where the blokes stand with their arms in the air and take their tops off!”
A man then proceeded to take his top off and the lead singer requested that the light technician pinpointed the spotlight on the half naked guy which got an almighty yell from the crowd. The band shifted slowly into ‘Ghosts That We Knew’, an intimate song coming in half-way through the set, with white glowing balls slowly descending from the ceiling.
The next tune to leave the speakers was ‘The Cave’, everyone including the band jumped around and roared out the lyrics; you wouldn’t expect crowd surfing and mosh pits at a Mumford & Sons show, but that’s exactly what happened, adding to the absolutely phenomenal evening, but it wasn’t yet over.
Marcus hopped off the stage and quickly made his way to the back of the arena, while singing, and the crowd became like ravenous zombies, climbing over each other to high five and hug him. He got back on stage with a half ripped t-shirt and began playing drums as streams of pyrotechnics spat down behind him, lighting up the room.
The crowd screamed “We want more”, knowing full well the band were just teasing them, and the boys then ran to the sound desk from underneath the seating area and pulled out an acoustic guitar. “This is a quiet one, so quiet in fact that we all have to shut the fuck up for it to work”.
The band gathered around one microphone, there was a hush from the crowd as they listened intently to two acoustic songs. They got back on the main stage to continue their encore of ‘Little Lion Man’, ‘Hot Gates’ and finishing off with ‘The Wolf’, while a neon blue strip of light shot across the bottom of the stage and a slow light show followed in the background, confetti streamers covered the crowd and Mumford & Sons jumped around the stage.
An out of breath Marcus shouted “This is one of my favourite gigs we’ve done in a very long time, and give it up for Jack Garratt! Thank you and we will see you guys very soon”.