The Lumineers are back in Australia and New Zealand as part of their ‘Brightside’ World Tour 2022. This is their first trip to our shores in three years. Tonight the Aware Super Theatre is hosting a capacity and excited crowd. This is a truly impressive venue, its steeped levels shrouded in haze, as I enter.
Queensland based band Hollow Coves are the opening act. The band is made up of Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins and their indie folk is the perfect aperitif for the Lumineers. The crowd is enjoying their set and someone shouts “I Love You” Henderson and Carins seem quite taken aback. Hollow Coves leave the stage and the crowd waits expectantly for the Lumineers to emerge.
I’m standing at the mixing desk and I notice that someone has left a wallet that is branded “Mr Brightside” and is obviously a memento from a tour by The Killers on the desk. Small world. And then to the strains of ‘Desperado’ (slowed and reverb) by Rihanna, the Lumineers take the stage.
The band kicks off with ‘Brightside’, the crowd is ecstatic and everyone (and I mean everyone) in the theatre is up on their feet and dancing. You would think that things couldn’t get more hectic. You’d be wrong. The third song is ‘Ho Hey’ and the crowd is going nuts. Ironically Wesley Schultz explains that ‘Ho Hey’, which people come up to him and say is a dance that they have used at their weddings, is actually about a break up!
Schulz when he introduces ‘Dead Sea’ says that it is actually a happier and perhaps more appropriate song to have at your wedding, than ‘Ho Hey’. The drums come thumping in and the crowd around me is delirious. A group of teenage girls leave their seats to go and dance on the viewing platforms. Luckily security is allowing this, which is great. In the midst of all this chaotic dancing I notice a guy with a beer in each hand wandering around, he can’t find his seat. Ironically when I was at the mixing desk I noticed one of the Hollow Coves guys also struggling to find his seat.
At the end of ‘Dead Sea’ Schulz hits some really high notes and the crowd roars its approval. Beer guy has found his seat. I’m happy for him because navigating a wildly dancing crowd with two beers precariously balanced as you try to locate your seat is not an easy task. Schulz talks about how the Lumineers released their first album 10 years ago and the next song, ‘Flowers In Your Hair’ is the first track on that album. The band swings into gear and there are suddenly some great bluegrass vibes happening. Visuals behind the band show flowers and vintage shots of the Lumineers. The stadium shimmies along. Although this is a huge and magnificent arena, this song is so intimate and euphoric – it makes me feel like I am at a country fair with my friends and family.
Next up is ‘Where We Are’ and Schulz talks about an accident that he was involved in, that happened in Arizona. He was driving in a car with his wife, when their car flipped three times. People ran up to the car wreck crying and expecting to find Schulz and his wife dead, instead the couple were smoking cigarettes, laughing and bleeding. Schulz talks about how the last few years have been like a car accident for the whole world. He says that as the car was rolling, time slowed down and he somehow knew that everything was going to be OK. He believes that although the world has endured a few horror years, everything will turn out alright. The band swing through their setlist the crowd continues to heave in ecstasy to each song.
It’s raining when I leave the theatre but nothing can dampen the spirits of the crowd after this joyful and inspirational show by the Lumineers.