Although it was nearly a month ago- I’m still in awe from the night of May 28th. Why, you ask? This particular evening sparked a sense of nostalgia that had my mind time-traveling to some of my favorite shows ever which happened to take place at the Santa Barbara bowl. If you haven’t already realized the fact that Santa Barbara is the home to one of the most beautiful outdoor venues on the West Coast, now’s the time to jump ship. The Lumineers made their much-anticipated return to the Santa Barbara bowl, just 2 years after leaving the biggest (and best) impression for those attending. From the countless stories and videos I witnessed – my expectations were pretty high. As predicted, it wasn’t long before the 4,562 capacity sized venue was filled to the brim. Although I missed the opportunity to snap both The SleepwalkersSOAK during their set(s), each band did an excellent job of warming the crowd up while underneath the gloomy sky. SOAK sounded wonderful live as they performed songs from Before We Forgot How to Dream, and essentially kicking off what would be a memorable evening.Without spoiling anything besides the obvious: everything made perfect sense from the stage design to the set list (featured above.) The bowl’s vibe was equal parts fanatical and energetic which made one thing pretty clear about the connection between the crowd & the headliner. Those who filled the majestic outdoor venue weren’t just individuals who shelled out the dollars to belt out the chorus to the headliners’ 2012 mega-hit “Ho Hey.” This crowd was beyond that stereotype and everyone who chose to stand/sit/dance throughout the entire night clearly had the band’s discography and more engrained in their blood. When the band opened up with “Sleep on The Floor” the roar put me into a trance that reminded me of two specific shows at the bowl that will forever hold a special place in my heart (The National & Arcade Fire.) Even though the band’s sophomore effort Cleopatra had only been out for a little over a month at the time, it didn’t stop a single individual from silencing themselves regardless if they knew the words or not. The stage design resembled an elegant elaboration of the simplicity parallel to their album art. The stage was lit up in a way that made you feel as if you were time-traveling back to a memory. Just when I thought the Santa Barbara Bowl couldn’t appear any more intimate than before – I am instantly proven wrong.

   It’s hard to explain what the band’s secret weapon is that grabs your attention from the start when you watch them live, but it’s there. You can feel its existence when it transforms a venue of strangers into a cohesive environment as every song comes and goes. Watching The Lumineers live in concert that when you find yourself , you don’t realize that you’re one of thousands in a crowd. The Santa Barbara bowl may be what feels like the largest venue in the county, but when the time is right – the scene is just as intimate as a night at the Granada. So if you’re thinking about catching them when they return to the west coast this fall, including 2 nights at the Greek in LA, take the opportunity and GO. 
Final words: More nights like this one for Summer 2016 in Santa Barbara, please and thank you.