Brits Invade Providence

On August 6th, we headed down to Providence for a night out on the town. The highlight was going to be catching the British folk rock act Mumford & Sons performing at the Providence Performing Arts Center.


After being nominated for a couple of Grammys last year, these guys are still just on the verge of making it big in the U.S. Their following is big, but it’s not full-on mainstream… yet.

Mumford & Sons skipped Boston, so many of the 1450 people packed into the tiny venue had made the trip down. We were in the 7th row thanks in part to the fact I was tipped off to a presale.

When a show sells out in six minutes, you kind of have a good idea what to expect going in. The energy level is going to be intense. Despite my high expectations, the concert still managed to blow me away. The four other couples/groups we went with all echoed that same experience.

I’ve been to dozens, if not hundreds of concerts over the years. I remember a number of the good ones; I can count on one hand the number of great concerts I’ve attended.

This concert was one of them. There was something else though that was incredibly special about it.

Normally I get upset if a band doesn’t play a song (or in this instance, two songs) that I really wanted to hear live.

Somehow, those “flaws” added to the show. The band managed to juggle a commanding stage presence with a comforting vulnerability. They bantered on stage. They joked with the crowd. They asked us to join them. They stood in front of a silent auditorium with no microphones and no amplifiers and just played.

What was so special about this band? I’ve seen bands like U2 and Coldplay absolutely blow away stadium audiences with their theatrics. Somehow, those bands didn’t compare. I’ve seen some of my favorite artists stripped down and playing in intimate settings of less than 100 people. Still, it was difficult for them to compare.

After the show, we were sitting outside our hotel on the bar patio. Coincidentally, the entire band and crew was staying at the same hotel. While we were having drinks, a group – the group, with their significant others and friends – wandered by. They were smiling and laughing and talking, clearly having a great time.

That was it. Something the majority of artists seem to lose track of – they are grateful for, and love what they are doing. It’s not about the fame or the fortune or being the best or even entertaining the audiences. It’s about them having fun, playing music, and simply put, enjoying life. Pure. Fun. These guys have a burning passionate desire to do what they do. They love to play. They love life. Simple.

Too often people lose their passion for life. Things they used to enjoy no longer become fun. Perhaps that’s the saddest thought in the world. To find someone who clings to that passion and celebrates it is inspirational.

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