Mumford & Sons rock the folk out

Ben Lovett and Marcus Mumford. Photo: Kristian Meijer.

British folk heroes Mumford & Sons played their first ever and long-overdue show in Pretoria in the shadow of the beautiful Voortrekker Monument on Saturday night.

The band had been riding high on the success of their first ever South African tour.

The first batch of tickets to the first three shows in Cape Town, Durban, and

Pretoria sold out in under two minutes, prompting promoters to add three more.

The second Pretoria show sold out within minutes as well.

And so on Saturday, 25 000 excited fans packed the historic monument amphitheatre, a venue that had played host to many important gatherings over the past 80 years.

Some fans arrived nine hours before the band was scheduled to play, eager to get space right in front of the stage.

The snaking queues to buy drinks and food were however an issue. People queued for nearly 100 meters, as concertgoers patiently waited to be served.

Though a small hiccup, it could not lessen the excitement of seeing one of the bands most requested to play live in South Africa.

The weather had also threatened to disrupt the show the entire day, but by the time opening acts The Brother Moves On, John Wizards, The Very Best, and local favourites Beatenberg the weather had cleared.

When Mumford & Sons finally took the stage at 21:05, the crowd went ballistic.

Their rapturous screams and applause echoed and reverberated across the expanse of the amphitheatre.

Fans sang, jumped and danced along as band members Winston Marshall, Ben Lovett, Ted Dwane, and Marcus Mumford moved through songs – new and old –  including fan favourites Lover of the Light, Dust Bowl Dance, and The Cave.

By the time the encore arrived, heavy clouds had rolled in.

Senegalese music legend Baaba Maal joined the band to perform their newly-released single, There Will Be Time.

As they sang their beautiful collaboration, the rain started coming down.

Instead of dampening the mood, it only served to heighten it.

As the rain beat down on the parched Pretoria landscape, fans at the concert lifted up their arms to the dark sky, sticking their tongues out to taste and appreciate the rain.

By the time the band played second last song, one of their fans’ all-time favourites Little Lion Man, the rain started heavily beating down, to the delight of the crowd.

All 25 000 sang along, “But it was not your fault but mine”, as they jumped up and down in the rain.

The band closed their set with The Wolf, capping off an incredible night with one of the best songs off their new album, Wilder Mind.

The band plays their sixth last South African show on Sunday night at the Voortrekker Monument.

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Kristian Meijer

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