We made it out to Red Rocks last night for the sold out Lumineers show and witnessed the majestic, suspender and bowtie adorned five piece band literally blow the 9,525 fans away (there was a lot of confetti). The Lumineers started in Denver in the early 2000’s and released their self titled album in 2013 which went platinum. Their recognition is warranted; their set was pristine. They somehow have managed to remain candid, authentic and adorably romantic under the eyes of nationwide recognition.
We heard from their openers that they’re truly good, kind and humble people, and I don’t doubt the sentiment. Their presence was artful. They focused on the music, played virtuously, and nailed every note gracefully. Wesley Schultz thanked the crowd repeatedly; it was apparent that a Red Rocks show was an important thing for the band, and they performed with a fervor that got every single member of the crowd dancing and singing, holding on to every word.
The band took the stage with Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain blaring overhead, and I got to admit, it was super epic. The band dove into their set which was equally comprised of songs off of their most recent release, Cleopatra (2016) and their self titled album from 2013 which half of the US could probably recite. Their lyricism is perfectly balanced between the personal and the universal; and for that reason they’ve accessed an amazingly broad reach. Their albums are hearths of romantic sensitivity; a heartache that isn’t cathartic but simply feels good; it’s regenerative, and it just sounds really, really clean (granted the world-renowned Red Rocks acoustics are also due credit).
Denver fans fully understand the Lumineers; not only was there palpable Colorado pride in the air, but a distinctly Denver vibe reverberated through the ampitheatre. The old adage, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, fits here. Wesley Schultz was raised on that crisp Colorado air, and he sings it too. The Lumineers performance drew upon that Denver specific nostalgia of camping in the mountains or driving up for a weekend ski trip in your best friends cabin. Ponchos and desert shoes pandered in from all sides to fill the bleachers; couples crooned the lyrics in unison. It brought the Denver community together to celebrate our state. It was the perfect place to bring that old poncho out from the back of the closet, those sweet denim bell bottoms you’d been saving, or a flirty sundress-- thanks to this summer weather.
Folk music literally means the music of the people, “folk” meaning community. The Lumineers played exactly that. Their set brought people together. The flowing taps of craft beer helped, but really the music was what mattered, that was on the forefront of everyone’s attention. Well, that, and the perfect architecture of Schultz’s bone structure. I’m sorry, but, come on. It can’t go unsaid.
Halfway through the show all five band members climbed through the crowd and settled amidst awestruck fans to play a few acoustic, toned down renditions of some favorites. A sea of blue phone screens rose and snapped quick pictures, only to fall back into the enamored silence. The guy next to me called out, “Both nights- I’m here both nights!” with a poster rolled in his hands and a Lumineers tee-shirt on. He was exemplary of the kinds of fans which came from all over the place to see their show.
What’s amazing is how the Lumineers managed to mean so much to so many-- with a single, sixteen track self titled album they touched so many people’s lives. Their albums are our era’s anthems of romantic trial and error, unrequited love and moreover, community. The Lumineers have accomplished exactly what all musicians set out to do: bring people together.
It makes sense that the Lumineers booked Red Rocks for two nights in a row; I’d see them again tonight had it not sold out. Next time they play we’re going to be that guy in the crowd: “Both nights! I’m here both nights!”