I had the great joy of getting to see Mumford & Sons in concert on Sunday night. They were at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where the Indiana Pacers play, for the very last stop of their US tour. And, despite the fact that our seats were pretty much in the rafters, at a perilous incline (they seriously should have seatbelts for the seats up there. And maybe oxygen masks dangling from the ceiling), it was an amazing show. I’ve shared my adoration of Mumford & Sons before, so partly it was just that: I love them, love them, love them. They are multi-faceted performers whose love for music is in their bones, and the joy that they feel for music quite simply seeps into the crowd. It’s always kind of remarkable being in the midst of passion that intense… when someone is so good at something, and loves that thing so much, and you get to glimpse into it, even for a moment? Just makes you want to say, well, thank you.
But one of my favorite moments of the night had nothing to do with their talent as musicians. Late in the show, after singing a pretty cool cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” the lead singer, Marcus Mumford, said “Who knows AC/DC’s ‘Shook Me All Night Long’? We’re going to do a bit of Karaoke,” and then pointed to someone standing in the pit by the stage. And this guy in a baseball hat—Jeremy—a random dude from the crowd, came up on to the stage. You could tell he wasn’t sure whether they were serious or joking, or what might happen next. He and another member of the band, Winston, chatted for a moment and then the band started playing the music to the song (with lead singer Marcus kicking it on the drums). And JEREMY! Random Jeremy from the crowd, standing on the stage with Mumford & Sons as his back-up band, in front of 16,000 people, belted out the first verse like he owned the place. The crowd went bonkers, and even though he was in and out of singing as he tried to remember all the words, he fully committed, even running around the stage and up stairs to stand by Mumford as he drummed. He lived the moment fully, and the band backed him up fully. When they stopped playing, Marcus gave him a huge hug and commented as he exited the stage that “That is a f@#&n hard thing to do.” The crowd cheered for him like he was Mumford himself. I can’t imagine how that must have felt for him.
I love that the band did that: that the entire show didn’t have to be about showcasing their talent, that they could take a few moments of play to further engage the crowd. I love that they created a platform for a random person from the crowd to experience what it’s like to be a mega-star on a mega-stage. And I love that random Jeremy seized that opportunity when it came up. Most of us would shy away from such a moment—no way I’m getting on that stage. I’ll make a fool of myself. But when will such a moment ever show up again for random Jeremy? Probably exactly never. And he had the courage to grab and squeeze every last bit of juice out of it.
It’s not always in the form of a stadium concert. But moments open up for us. Moments that feel scary or uncertain. Moments where we just might very likely make a fool of ourselves. Moments that are definitely big when we feel small. A quick opening—a hand reached out, wondering if we’ll reach back. They don’t last. If we don’t reach back, the moments are gone. Maybe they’ll come back, maybe they won’t. If only we could always remember random Jeremy and have the courage to reach back. Because you never know what will happen if you do. You just might find yourself jamming with Mumford & Sons—a story for the rest of your life.
How can you be like random Jeremy today?
What are your moments?
Wings & Whimsy Activity:
First, is there a band that you love as much as I love Mumford & Sons? Please, share that with me. Music connects us in ways that are kind of indescribable. I've got a set of new professional colleagues who are quickly becoming dear friends, and music has been a key factor in that bonding. Also... as I was writing this, at 5:00 this morning, my daughter wandered downstairs having woken up early. She asked what I was writing about, so I told her, and then she asked to watch some Mumford & Sons videos. So, sitting on my lap this morning, she connected with them and I connected with her. You know what I mean? And also... Prince. So-- music. It's really something. What music impacts you?
Second, have you ever had a random Jeremy moment? What did you do? Did you reach back or shy away? Did you get another chance? Tell me about it in the comments below, or tweet me @ErikaPetrelli1.
“Moments (with Mumford): Grabbing Opportunities with Both Hands”, The Leadership Program, 2016