Mumford & Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road Galway Stopover @ Salthill Park
They really were such gentlemen. After arriving on the smaller stage at the start of the day to welcome everyone to the festival, and making a surprise appearance with Nathaniel Rateliff (oh my..) during his set, the band emerged onto the mainstage for their own performance at 9pm, just as the sun was going down behind us over Salthill.
It was one of those sardine-can kind of crowds, with a comfortable disregard for personal space and pungent fragrance of weed and wet field in the air. If the crowd started swaying or jumping, you really had no choice or control, you jumped and swayed too. “We’re here to sing and to dance with you,” is what Marcus told us before the opening song - the word “with” instead of “to” being key - the atmosphere, created by adoring audience as much as the band, was incredible. I think what make Mumford & co. so great is the fact that they really, genuinely enjoy what they do. It shines on stage. Ben Lovett in particular had a ridiculously lovely grin on his face the entire night. They have fun as well as putting purely breathtaking forces of emotion into their music - they connect with and react to the crowd, who go wild at every chorus and break, and know every word, even to the newer unreleased songs. It was simply amazing - I’m going to take it as far as to say that it was probably the best live show I have ever been to.
A guy standing in front of us was left alone when his friend slipped out of the sweaty crowd to get a drink and air; “I feel like a d*** now for staying, but I couldn’t give up this view!” I agreed, I wouldn’t have moved for the world, but when I pointed out that really he was the one who had been abandoned, he pointed to the stage, shouting: “I’m not abandoned, I am not alone in this!!” He wasn’t even drunk. And it didn’t feel like he was wrong either.