There’s an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation before Mumford and Sons‘ Sunday night headline appearance at the Pyramid stage. Are they really ready for this enormous responsibility? To fill the size 13 boots worn by the likes of Springsteen and Stevie?
Sure, it’s been a hectic rise for the West London band. It’s only been a few years since we first spotted them half way up the Far Out Stage at Green Man. And it’s certainly welcome to witness an actual folk band headline this festival which has acoustic guitars and earthly tales running down its ley lines like the pulped apples that run through the delicious toxic potions from the Cider Bus.
But there’s still a feeling, even as they enter into the slow bars of ‘Lover’s Eyes‘ that opens this evening’s set, that such a momentous occasion doesn’t yet belong to them. You wonder, has Michael Eavis‘ bookers had the wool pulled over their eyes by Mumford‘s astronomical rise in the United States?
The answer comes only three songs in when Marcus Mumford tells the crowd that they’ve “come for a party“, before a delivering a rousing ‘Little Lion Man‘. It’s a song that they could easily have held back for the close. Instead they get one of their biggest hits out of the way, as if telling Glastonbury, “Here’s what you wanted, now let’s dance!“
What follows is a spiralling, heady waltz of a set, Mumford and Sons turning the Pyramid field into one gigantic barn dance. ‘Holland Road‘ takes us by our hand and spins us around, and ‘Babel‘ moves from a gentle sensual sway into a fiery, incendiary jig.
The Pyramid field is clearly emptier than yesterday evening’s triumphant Rolling Stones performance, but this is an equally memorable gig. They’ve been staying at Worthy Farm for the last three days, they tell the crowd at half way through the set, and this is their fifth appearance here – consider them Glastonbury veterans.
“We feel we didn’t do anything special to get here. But we’re proud to be here. And we’re glad you got us here,” Marcus says before they close with a beautiful, endearing ‘Awake My Soul’ and bring The Vaccines, The Staves and Vampire Weekend out to help them with a raucous cover of ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’. They’re humble words, and it’s clear that this is just the first of many future Glastonbury memories.
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