Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group
Mumford & Sons is one of the biggest bands in the world right now. Ever since its inception in 2007, the London-based neo-folk outfit has released three albums, selling millions of copies of each along the way. Even with only three records under its members’ collective belts, the band has gained just as many fans around the world as it has sold albums if not more. Now a decade after the band first formed, it has added to its already impressive resume with its latest full-length live recording–a recording that all audiences will appreciate—in the form of Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder. This latest live offering from Mumford & Sons—it’s last live recording was included in the 2010 re-issue of its 2009 debut album Sigh No More—will impress audiences first and foremost in its presented set list. That will be discussed shortly. The band’s performance of said set list is just as important to note in this recording as the set list itself. It will be discussed later. The concert’s collective cinematography and editing round out its most important elements. That is not to say it isn’t the last element to note in examining its presentation. The various platforms on which it has been made available can easily be examined, too. When this is set alongside the concert’s collective cinematography and editing, the band’s performance, and the show’s set list, the whole of this recording proves to be a work that all audiences will appreciate.
Mumford & Sons’s new live recording Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder is a recording that all audiences will appreciate. This includes fans and fans in passing. That is made evident through the time and effort that was clearly put into the recording’s presentation beginning with its set list. The concert’s 17-song, 94-minute set list pulls from all three of the band’s albums almost equally. It pulls four songs from the band’s debut and sophomore record while its third record is only slightly more heavily represented with six songs. There is also a pair of performances with veteran Senegalese artist Baaba Maal included in the set list. One of that pair—that of ‘Lampenda’—pulls from Maal’s 2016 album Traveller. The other song that the two acts perform together—‘Wonda’—comes from the groups’ 2016 collaborative record Johannesburg. The five-song recording was released June 17, 2016 via Glassnote. Keeping this in mind, it is clear that a lot of thought was put into this concert’s set list. The set list does technically favor the band’s latest recording the most. But even with that in mind, it doesn’t favor that album too much more than the band’s first two recordings. The addition of the set’s additional songs from Baaba Maal adds even more depth to the set list. All things considered, the songs that are featured in this recording’s set list make clear why the set list is so important to the recording’s presentation. The set list is just one of the most important elements to note of the recording’s overall presentation, too. The band’s performance of the set list is just as important to note as the set list itself in examining the recording’s presentation.
The set list at the center of Mumford & Sons’ new live recording is in itself a pivotal piece of the recording’s presentation. That is because it balances representation of each of the band’s albums so well. While it is clearly an important part of the recording’s presentation, it is only one important part of that presentation. The band’s performance of the featured set list is just as important to note in examining the recording’s presentation as the set list itself. The most notable aspect of the band’s performance here is that it really lets the music do the talking for its members. Front man Marcus Mumford spend the better part of the concert getting the audience worked into a frenzy with the energy and enthusiasm put into every one of the show’s songs. Mumford and company give each performance its all, and the audience shows its appreciation for that effort with its own energy from start to finish. It isn’t until late in the concert that Mumford starts to really get into the show and start interacting with the audience more actively. When he does, that serves to work the audience even more into a frenzy. That is especially noticeable late in the concert as Mumford joins the audience during one performance. He doesn’t just walk the safe aisle areas of the audience, either. He actually mixes in with the audience, becoming one with the concertgoers. Between that moment and the overall performance put on by the band throughout the course of the 94-minute show, the band’s performance overall will keep audiences engaged and entertained just as much as the show’s set list if not more so. The band members’ performances—both alone and collectively—display such energy and enthusiasm. Those performances show that a band doesn’t always need pyro and other special effects to entertain audiences. Sometimes all an act needs is talent and heart, and that is exactly what the band presents throughout its performance of each song, showing in whole why the band’s overall performance is just as important to note in examining this concert’s presentation as the show’s set list. It still is not the recording’s last important element. The recording’s collective cinematography and editing round out its most important elements.
Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder’s set list and the band’s performance thereof are both key pieces of the recording’s overall presentation. As important as they are to the recording’s overall presentation, they are not its only key elements. Its collective cinematography and editing are just as important as those elements to the recording’s presentation. The recording’s cinematography and editing are so pivotal to the recording’s presentation because they make this concert feel like so much more than just another run-of-the-mill concert recording. Audiences will note a very specific frame rate was used in capturing the concert. The recording’s bonus insert (at least in its Blu-ray presentation) does not note the cameras’ frame rates in their shooting. But it is obvious it was not a standard shooting rate. The angles and shot transitions were just as expertly handled in post production. The wide shots captured from high above the stage that expertly capture the immensity of the audience in attendance of the concert will leave audiences in awe. The same can be said of the dolly shots from just below the stage and the wide shots from amidst the audience. The transitions between these and so many other angles and shots add even more depth to the work of those behind the lens (and editing stations). From one song to the next, the transitions just as expertly capture the songs’ energy, the energy in the band’s performance and the audience’s appreciation for the band’s efforts. Between those expert transitions developed in the recording’s post production, the shots captured by the camera crew at the concert and even the concert’s sound engineers (speaking of which this concert’s audio is another that absolutely begs for a surround sound home theater system for optimum experience), the recording’s camera work and associated editing proves to be just as important to its presentation as its set list and the band’s performance thereof. When all three elements are set alongside one another, they make this concert an experience that all audiences will appreciate. That includes audiences who might just be casual fans. Add in the multiple platforms on which the recording has been made available, and audiences have in this recording what is one of the year’s first great new live recordings.
Mumford & Sons’ new live recording Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder is one of 2017’s first great new live recordings. A thorough examination of the recording’s set list, the band’s performance thereof, the recording’s collective production values (both in production and in post production) and its platforms supports that statement. That has already been noted above. Each element is clearly important in its own right. All things considered, Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder proves to be one of this year’s first great live recordings. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder is available online now along with all of Mumford & Sons’ latest news and more at:
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