Iconic for its rich history and innovative architectural design, the Hollywood Bowl is renowned for its natural acoustics which are then amplified with superior quality and volume to every seat in the house.
Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, this outdoor amphitheater was no doubt the cause of your Friday night traffic jam last weekend, due to headlining band: The Lumineers!
The Lumineers are continuing on their current tour by playing to a sold-out audience in the most coveted venue under the stars that Southern CA has to offer.
Warming up the crowd for The Lumineers was their good friend, James Bay, who opened with a swooning 10-song set. Bay’s voice possessed irresistible magnetism, and new fans were made with every pulsating chorus that begged us to sway along.
Bay gave the audience what they wanted with his hits “Let It Go,” “Us,” and “Hold Back the River.” James Bay also treated the captivated crowd to an unreleased song – “Broken Pieces.” The new track stole my heart with its soulful lyrics, punctuated by Bay’s beautiful harmonic crooning.
As an special surprise, the audience was gifted an exclusive acoustic download of the song via QR code displayed on the big screen while he performed. Thank you James Bay! Closing out his set with his mega hit “Hold Back the River,” he left us on a high for The Lumineers.
An outpouring of excited conversations carried through the night air as fans waited in anticipation for The Lumineers to take the stage. Like clockwork, the band marched in right on time, already strumming. They didn’t waste a second, hitting us hard with three bangers in a row! “Cleopatra” playfully opened the set, followed by their toe-tapping “Flowers in Your Hair,” and as house lights shined on the audience during the chorus of their breakthrough hit single, “Ho Hey,” it revealed hundreds singing along in perfect unison.
The level of talent running through this band, intricate instrumentation, entertaining crowd interaction, and – dare I say it – athleticism I witnessed, was something I simply did not expect. It seems everyone in the band plays a minimum of three instruments. Not just play them; it was like watching musical chairs with a variety of instruments like an accordion, cello, mandolin, and percussion, all expertly executed. When Jeremiah Fraites jumped from drums to upright piano for “Salt and the Sea,” I was transfixed by his skill playing a brooding melody over front-man Wesley Shultz’s vocals and strumming, while others jumped on drums, organ, cello, and violin.
The Lumineers’ call for audience participation in their performances. When Shultz announced, “We need your voices!” with songs “Dead Sea,” “Angela” and “A.M. Radio,” the crowd obliged in a spirited call and response. The genuine gratitude the band has for their audience and opportunities to play live was palpable.
During their performance of “Brightside,” Shultz emerged from the stage, greeted fans in aisles, then made his way to the back of the amphitheater, still shaking hands and serenading us all along the way.
With everyone now on their feet, Shultz returned to the stage, and they kept the momentum going by hitting us with “Gloria,” “Sleep on the Floor,” and “Ophelia.” “Leader of the Landslide” was also notable for its snowball build, starting out with accordion, strings, and guitar. Then the drums kicked in with the piano and Lauren Jacobson switched from violin to organ. Something about that piano brings out the athleticism in whomever is currently playing it. For 30 seconds, Shultz freezes “Big Parade” in the middle of the song to give attention to the piano player holding a perfect handstand on top of the piano! It was unreal.
The Lumineers finished out their set with “Stubborn Love” to a captive audience. Looking around, there were nothing but smiling faces singing their hearts out.
It was the perfect ending to a viscerally exciting live concert experience. Their fans will not soon forget the soulful performance and heartfelt harmonies. Ask me if the two and a half hours spent in traffic was worth it and my answer will be a resounding yes! Go see The Lumineers live!