Last night I went to a gig. But it wasn’t just any gig. It was a gig in which I saw one of the biggest and best bands in the world right now in a theatre in my home town with a capacity of just 1500 of us; I saw Mumford and Sons. And you may wonder why I’m writing a post about it because hey, everyone goes to gigs right?! Well, there was something special about last night; something special about THEM.
I’m not sure what it is about their music but it affects my soul. Some of their songs inspire me to write, take steps towards my new life and feel like everything is going to be okay whilst others bring tears to my eyes and fill my heart with emotions that I can’t describe and feeling all of that is exactly what music is supposed to do. It’s not meant to make you grind against a pole when you’re 12 years old because ‘that’s how they dance’ or make you want to dress like a hooker because ‘that’s what she does’.
Music is supposed to be FELT. It is meant to affect you. Make you smile, reduce you to tears and inspire you and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. After a couple of big, powerful tunes such as I Will Wait, they slowed it down with songs like Awake My Soul (which was really appropriate since this gig DID awake my soul) in which the velvet of their voices could not be hidden. The instrument volume was turned down as were the lights and instead, their voices shone through. Whether you like their music or not, you can’t deny that their voices and vocal control is out of this world. They can have the entire audience up and bouncing around or reduced to tears in a matter of minutes and that is exactly what a band should have the power to do.
We were the opening night in their tour and it was an honour to be the first to experience something so special. Despite the tour selling out within minutes and them filling The O2 several times over, you couldn’t help but feel that they felt at home with us. That as much as they loved big crowds, this was where their hearts truly lied and I have to say, seeing them in such an intimate setting really did make the difference. I didn’t need to watch them on a big screen because they were so far away; they were right in front of me at all times. Their voices echoed in the old room and I got goosebumps hearing us sing their songs back to them. They wrote several of their songs here in Devon which, they said, made them feel like they were bringing both themselves and their songs back home; it was truly special.
And then came something incredible. In an old theatre with just 1500 of us, they walked to the front of the stage, ditched the microphones (and asked us to ditch technology too) and with just 4 voices, 1 guitar and 1 banjo sang an acoustic version of Timshel and blew me away. As I stood there listening to their incredible vocals, I heard the words ‘you are not alone in this’ and I was so overwhelmed with emotion I cried. There is nothing in this world that compares to intimate moments like that in life. To have something, whether it be music or some other experience, move you so strongly it reduces you to tears. I haven’t felt anything like it since Africa. To have my heart and soul swell with such unspoken emotion.
It’s the entire reason I travel. To find those moments that break down all your walls, your ‘I’m fine’ fakery, get passed the make up and clothes you’re wearing and hit you where it matters the most. The moments that make all the endless hours you spend travelling and not sleeping, worth it. Some people don’t feel it because they’re not ‘emotional people’ and they come away with wild experiences and memories which is great but I think if you put your heart and soul out there, the rewards can be so much greater. Instead of having a ‘fantastic time’ jumping into the Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls, I had a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
After my jumps into the pool, my friend and I stood at the side and cried our eyes out, so happy, so overcome with emotion. And being so overcome with that emotion makes me realise that despite all the terrible things I have been through in life, without them, I wouldn’t be so in touch with my soul and if I wasn’t so in touch with it, moments like that and listening to music etc wouldn’t have such a great impact on me and that really would be soul-destroying because despite having an awful 2012, on the 21 November in a small town with just 1500 people and the most amazing musicians on the planet, I found my happy tears again.
Dear Mumford and Sons, you brought tears to my eyes, love to my heart and peace to my soul. It was a privilege.