This is the first time I have ever seen the same band three times in one year, but a live Mumford & Sons concert is worth it. They are currently on their Summer Stampede tour that goes from Calgary to Telluride. My friend and I got tickets in the Pit section of the Phoenix stop when we entered into an ingenious pre-sale lottery that the band is using to combat ticket scalpers. Back in March, it was announced that if you wanted to receive a special code to allow you to purchase tickets ahead of the general public, you had to submit an application and select up to three tour stops. There was no guarantee you would get a code for the stop you most desired, nor a guarantee you would get a code at all! So when my email came with my code 3 hours after they said emails would be sent, my frown was turned upside down very quickly. And it was for the stop we wanted the most out of the three, though having an excuse to visit Taos, New Mexico for the first time would have also been welcome.
The band made another great anti-scalper move and elected to choose the new Ticketmaster option of using paperless ticketing for select venue sections. What this meant was that at the entry gate, you had to swipe the credit card you used to purchase the tickets, after which you receive printed receipts that act as your tickets, much like an airplane boarding pass. If more bands opt to do this in the future, StubHub and other ticket resalers should be worried.
The show was fantastic, as always, and we had an amazing time being close to the band in the Pit section, which was much more comfortable than General Admission at the February concerts in Virginia because there were less people. Surprisingly, the thing I was most worried about - the heat - was a complete non-event. The air cooled off significantly from the 105 degree high in the day, plus we were under cover which helps. There's also a huge, welcomed difference between a dry heat and the humidity I'm used to in Washington D.C. The guys in the band looked tired towards the end of the show, so maybe their opinion on the heat was a little different. Of course, it's such a fantastically, high energy show to begin with, I don't know how they last that long under any temperature condition!
While the show was non-stop entertainment, I have to say that what happened earlier in the day was equally as great...no, just kidding, it was much, much better! There are some days when I just have all the luck in the world, and I happened to bump into Marcus Mumford at the hotel as he came back from a motorcycle ride in the morning. And, he could not have been any nicer. We talked about his music and his guitars (a Martin D28, by the way) while he had a cigarette. And, he even helped me with taking a photo of the two of us on my phone, being that he was the one with the longer arms. Best part was right before I left, he asked my name like a formal introduction, and we shook hands while he said "I'm Marcus," like I didn't already know! So while meeting Paul McCartney on the streets of London last summer was the ultimate fan encounter for me, hanging out with Marcus was up there on the list - and I have the photo to keep as a memento this time. OK, fine, I don't have many musician meetings, so that list is pretty small, but it's always great when you meet someone that could be considered famous and discover that they are still a kind, down to earth person. You hear that Justin Bieber??