After a weekend of stormy weather, Fleet Foxes' dynamic performance at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday night proved the band's six year hiatus made them stronger than ever.
The tour was in support of the band's newest album, Crack-Up, which demonstrated a shift toward more complex music production. The release made experimental moves, taking influence from musical styles all over the world. Much of the two-hour set, however, consisted of fan favorites from previous albums, perhaps to compensate for five years spent off the stage.
As the sky cleared, fans poured into the venue. Despite the massive size of the crowd, attendees mirrored opener Animal Collective's buoyant spirit as they made room on the tightly-packed lawn for those who arrived late to the show.
Fleet Foxes set the night's idyllic mood, opening with "I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar." The strong instrumentals magnified the ensemble's presence, with images of passionate trombone playing flashing on the screen throughout the show.
While the band drew a huge crowd, the delicate percussion and tender vocals created an intimate scene. The show's pace began to pick up when the band began playing songs from their 2008 self-titled debut album.
"Ragged Wood" showed just how dedicated the crowd was, as the crowd's singing sounded nearly mantric. Concertgoers began to embrace each other when "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" played.
Gentle swaying turned into intense dancing as the backing band performed with meticulous detail. The solid performance by the ensemble was noted by the audience, who unsuccessfully pleaded for frontman Robin Pecknold to introduce the band. The show climaxed during "Mykonos" as compelling hand clapping from fans nearly outperformed the band's powerful drumming.
The passion of the night took a toll on Pecknold's voice, as he performed each succeeding song with increasing fervor. Despite the 31-year-old singer's complaint that he was tired toward the end of the night, the band returned for their encore performance unbothered. With exhilaration, Fleet Foxes ended the night with "Crack-Up," allowing fans to let lose from the stress of the day.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story stated that Fleet Foxes' opening band was Arcade Fire. It was Animal Collective. This article has been updated.