Portland, Maine is a wonderful city and this was an excellent occasion to be out on the town. A friend of mine had an extra ticket for the first of four stops Mumford & Sons were making on their Gentlemen of the Road tour this summer.
The festival started at noon with music starting at 2 pm. We didn’t get there until the middle of the afternoon but there was plenty to see and hear. The set up was great as the Eastern Promenade was covered with people, 15,000 or so, and had two adjoining stages to alternate for music, making it easy for anyone to turn their head and catch a band. The food situation was not as accommodating. There were options from local restaurants if you wanted some artisan burgers, pizza, wraps or even cupcakes but waiting over an hour for something to eat was not our idea of a good time. We found a stand selling lobster rolls, 2 for $25, with a five minute wait and purchased a few to hold us over. We found some ground and took up residence for the next few hours.
We watched sets by St. Vincent, Dawes, a surprise set from Dropkick Murphys and then the main attraction. We missed Simone Felice, Haim and Apache Relay from earlier in the afternoon. Between sets comedian Reggie Watt was on hand to introduce bands and get us ready for what was coming next.
Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, was impressive to see on stage. Wielding her guitar through mountains of feedback, her drummer pounded along and she provided a solid 45 minutes. Dawes were next to bring things back down a bit with their Americana inspired folk rock; think My Morning Jacket minus all the crazy jams. There was some familiar banjo twang coming over the PA as the Dropkick Murphys stormed the stage for a 30-minute set. They were added to the lineup a few days earlier and energized the crowd.
Marcus Mumford and his band took over the last hour of the day and brought plenty of singalong choruses, deep emotions and new songs to share. Covering their hits “Little Lion Man” and “The Cave”, they stuck to other fan favorites “Roll Away Your Stone” and “Winter Winds” with some new ones like “Lover’s Eyes”. As the final notes of the night rang out, Mumford called people to the stage, and within a minute all the other bands from the day were up there holding various instruments and a familiar drum beat started off an epic jam of “The Weight” by The Band to cap the night. The song ended and fireworks graced the sky for a few minutes afterward. Check the set.
A great day bookended by plenty of driving, with all the miles I put on my Focus I could have been a gentleman of the road.
(Remaining on this tour: Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee (twin cities) on Saturday, August 11th; Dixon, Illinois on August 18th, and Monterey, California on August 25th.)