By the time The Lumineers took the stage at about 9:15 on Saturday, Merriweather Post Pavilion's signature lawn was a mess of beach towels, sundresses and khaki shorts. This, in addition to the muggy air and the Denver band's indie vibes, announced that, despite what the calendar said, the summer still survived — at least for this night.
Maybe it was because of the promise of this temporary extension or because the concert was one of the venue's last offerings until the weather grows warm again next spring, but the concert was absolutely packed. Two companions of mine said it was more crowded than they had ever seen Merriweather. Even Wesley Schultz, the band's front man, noticed the size of the crowd as the group came on the stage and immediately commented that it was an "overwhelming, amazing number of people."
Luckily, Schultz and company weren't overwhelmed to the point that they couldn't put on a solid show. Starting with Cleopatra album-opener "Sleep on the Floor"and hitting "Ophelia," "Dead Sea" and the classic "Ho Hey" early, they established a high-energy tone that couldn't exactly be matched by the back end of set, but didn't completely fizzle.
The band kept an almost even balance between their two albums they performed from despite the fact that Cleopatra came out earlier this year and their self-titled debut dropped in 2012. But the assembled crowd didn't seem to notice, singing every word to anything thrown at them. To this reviewer's right, one woman clocked an impressive hour or so of dancing with passion, eyes mostly closed, while balancing not one, but two cups of beer. It was just that type of feel-good night.
Perhaps the best song of the evening came at the end of the set (but before a four-song encore), when the band decided to end the show the same way they ended Cleopatra (a call back to opening with the opener). "Patience" is just one minute and 37 seconds of delicate piano, yet it feels like the perfect way to not only end that album but also to encapsulate the type of night the band can provide a jam-packed crowd of thousands. It's simple and good.
The Lumineers' performance will not etch itself in anyone's head as an all-timer, but, at least for me, it's sure to serve the purpose of any great summer show: something to hum and remember when the weather gets colder.