The Undeniable Charm of the Lumineers

We knew they were going to win our hearts.

I’ve been fortunate to see more than my fair share of ACL Tapings. Bands like Bon Iver, Radiohead, The Decemberists and Coldplay all brought their original brand of magic to that stage. It’s remarkable, really, that the same stage, the same backdrop, can produce such an incredibly unique show time after time.

The Lumineers proved no different. The thing they brought that I’ve yet to see in any other taping? So much passion for both the live show and the eventual broadcast. These guys wanted to get it right, and not just for their contribution to Season 39. They tried Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean  Homesick Blues” three times before they nailed it. Score one for season 39.  But then they brought every level of the crowd to their feet to sing along to “Stubborn Love”-an act that seemed to be as much about audience enjoyment as it was for the cameras. They played an uncharacteristically long set, far longer than any editor will be able to capture for the broadcast and I truly believe it was an effort to give the audience the full Lumineers concert experience, unencumbered by the time constraints of a 60 minute television show.

As if new songs like “Duet”, crazy good covers including “This Must Be the Place” and crowd favorites like “Ho Hey” weren’t enough to seal the deal, they did something I’ve never seen in at an ACL Taping-the came into the crowd and played in the round. There’s no way that plays well on TV. But, I can assure you it will play oh-so-well in my memory.  And isn’t that what makes concerts special? A moment in time that can’t be recreated even with the best cameras and mics recording it? The Lumineers did what I’ve never seen a band do at an ACL Taping-they gave me a show that I’ll remember distinctly differently than the broadcast will represent and, at the same time, made me giddy with anticipation for the television premiere.

As the band critiques their ACL performance I hope they’ll realize that the double takes were endearing, their humility admirable and their show one of the most unique yet.  These guys got it right. So right, in fact, that I couldn’t help sneaking just one forbidden picture during “This Must Be the Place.”

By Elizabeth Thompson