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Concert Reviews:
The Lumineers bring Meadow Brook season to a stirring conclusion
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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ROCHESTER HILLS -- The Lumineers have a couple of big hits so far in its young, Grammy Award-nominated career.

And the Denver folk-rock troupe has enough faith in the rest of its repertoire to give those singles to its crowd far earlier in its shows than most other bands would.

And so it was that on Saturday night, Sept. 24, at the final show of the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre's first season under that name, the Lumineers played its two chart-topping Alternative Rock chart hits -- the five-times platinum "Ho Hey" and "Ophelia" -- within the first four songs of its 90-minute show. And the night's other 18, mostly compact songs demonstrated just how much quality the group has in its two albums with an earnest and exuberant performance for a nearly full house on a chilly early fall night.

"The last time we were here was about three years ago. Thanks for not forgetting about us," frontman Wesley Schultz, sporting a fedora he often held over his heart as a gesture of gratitude, told the Meadow Brook crowd, which stood from start to finish, after the opening "Sleep On The Floor." The chart-topping debut of the Lumineers' second album, "Cleopatra," in April certainly proved the group built a devoted audience with its 2012 debut, and Schultz and his mates made good on that dedication Saturday.

Following opening sets by Rayland Baxter and Michigan native Borns (who played covers of Elton John's "Benny and the Jets" and David Bowie's "Heroes"), the Lumineers drew equally from its two albums, tossing in a pair of covers -- Abraham Laboriel's "Where the Skies Are Blue" and Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" -- from a second stage positioned at the foot of the Meadow Brook lawn. While a jaunty, front-porch sensibility is at the core of the group's sound, there was still plenty of diversity, from the moody textures of "Dead Sea," "Slow It Down" and the gorgeous "In The Light" to the thumping energy of "Ophelia," "Flowers In Your Hair," "Classy Girls" and "Big Parade."

A rich pop melody made "Angela" one of the night's highlights, while Schultz's introductions to "Charlie Boy" and "Gun Song," inspired by his uncle and father, respectively, gave added emotional poignancy to their performances. And when he joked his way around some technical difficulties with his guitar before "Cleopatra" by noting that, "I may have to tell you some more stories" to stall for time, the crowd was certainly willing to hear them.

Strong ensemble playing from the three core members and their three touring cohorts -- several of them multi-instrumentalist -- gave the Lumineers' songs formidable oomph and muscle, even within the most spacious and intricate arrangements. It lent an added dimension to the recorded versions of the songs, and that should insure that the group will be well-remembered and not forgotten about at all when it next comes to town.



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