Thursday, June 2, 2011

Railroad Revival Tour moment of joy

In these bodies we will live
In these bodies, we will die
And where you invest your love
That’s where you invest your life


“and that’s what we believe.” The words were spoken in a soft but unmistakably definite tone-the kind of statement that is gentle on the surface but indicates bedrock somewhere below. A faint cheer was drawn from the portion of the crowd listening “with all their ears” (as my children’s choir instructor used to say) in the almost-warm darkness of Marine Harbor Park in Oakland, CA (the rest were listening through ears dulled with drink and semi-legal-in-California substances). Hands went up all through the crowd, some fists, some palms-up or palms forward, some index fingers pointed fiercely to the sky. It was one of those moments, so rare, where an atmosphere takes that small but significant step over the line of beauty into the transcendent.


Rather than pull away from that moment too fast, Marcus Mumford stepped back from the mic, watching Ketch Secor’s fiddle (Old Crow Medicine Show) and bandmate Winston Marshall’s banjo lead an instrumental section of the bridge. Throughout the song, his eyes had been searching the crowd, displaying the characteristic that always impresses me most about Mumford and Sons—being fully present, smiling when he heard the thousands-strong voices with him.


Infectious grins began to spread over the faces of the band as they built the tempo up to pull out all the stops from the contemplative bridge of the song to the joyful strains of the chorus. Marcus stepped back up to the mic and gave a shout. Now, hands in the air wasn’t enough—dancing, leaping, jumping, waving, fist-pumping, singing, and flat-out hollering. The music demanded response, translated through motion and expression. Taking a brief moment to look around, as natural observers tend to do, I saw big, sloppy, foolish grins all around me.


My generation happily hands over their dignity to couch-potatoism, to reality tv, to drugs, to alcohol, to video games, to junk food, to gluttony and lust and ridiculous fashions. But in church worship, you’ll rarely see a more ‘dignified’ group. Yet here was a crowd positively shouting out the cry Awake my soul! Awake my soul! For you were made to meet your Maker!


It is strange, and sometimes I feel the beat of that pulse, that this generation cries out for the beauty of a soul’s awakening without really knowing what we’re asking for. Half-drugged, half-drunk, packed like sardines, snapping pictures when we should be being present, suspicious of everyone around us, clinging to our few belongings and living for those few and far between moments of transcendence where we can grin, shout, dance and be a part of something beautiful, and not knowing what we’re really missing.


Railroad Revival Tour Set List for Mumford and Sons:


Sigh No More
Roll Away Your Stone
Winter Winds
White Blank Page
Timshel
Hopeless Wanderer
Little Lion Man
Lover of the Light
Lover's Eyes
Awake My Soul
The Cave



1 comment:

Hannah Ellice Johnson said...

Mmmm. You captured a moment well here.