Concert Reviews

The Lumineers at the Budweiser Stage

A quick look around at the audience and one thing was clear – Torontonians are happily embracing the notion of post-COVID, mostly mask-less, shared revelry. The Budweiser stage was packed to the far reaches of the lawn on Saturday night as The Lumineers played the first of its two nights in the Big Smoke and the crowd that was totally “here for it”.

Show openers, Ohio-band Caamp, welcomed the masses with their easy folk-rock sound. A perfect starter to set the mood.

The Lumineers took the stage just as the sun was setting. Founding member, Jeremiah Fraites and his drumkit rose from nowhere to appear at the bottom of the stage to a huge roar from the crowd as the opening notes of BRIGHTSIDE rang out. Cleopatra, Ho Hey and Angela followed. Throughout the night, one song more or less rolled into the next, giving off the feel of a magical campfire sing-along. In fact, at one point lead singer Wesley Schultz tried to teach the audience the call and response for AM Radio – a track from their latest album. There was no need; the fans already knew every word.

Later in the evening, Shultz elicited a giant cheer from the fans when he spoke about Toronto’s support through the years. Toronto, he said, gave the Lumineers its first ever sold-out show a decade ago as it was starting out, cementing the band’s affection for this town. They then played Flowers in Your Hair, a throwback for the early fans.

The songs, old and new, held the assembled rapt and joyful. Most of the tunes – Gloria, Sleep on the Floor, Ophelia – maintained ecstatic energy levels for the band and fans alike. But even the quieter moments, like Rollercoaster, where Schultz sat on a riser as Fraites took to the piano, were mesmerizing.

Right through to the end of the encore, it was fun to watch the band stretch its performance muscles. Each member is adept at several instruments and they seem to be truly enjoying themselves as they emerge from their pandemic daze. The Lumineers have unlocked the trick to balancing great folk-rock elements in a way that invites communion. Enjoying an open-air concert on a beautiful night is no longer something we can take for granted. Thousands of voices made that evident when singing knowingly, “Where we are, I don’t know where we are, but it will be okay.” Amen to that.

About author

From folk to pop to punk, Neloufer believes that music matters; that it is almost as vital as oxygen. She also has a deep love of language, et voilà! - music reviewer.