Interview: The Lumineers Are Bringing Their All for 2020 III: The World Tour
The band's third LP, 2019's III, marks a pivotal new chapter for the group, which rose to fame with the release of their 2012 single "Ho Hey." III is their first major tour since the departure of longtime cellist and vocalist Neyla Pekarek and the addition of violinist Lauren Jacobson. But the most notable shift for the Lumineers can be heard in the music itself.
Unlike their self-titled debut and its follow-up record, 2016's Cleopatra, III tells one complete story in three defined chapters. Listeners are introduced to three members of a fictional family, the Sparks, through each chapter, beginning with grandmother Gloria, then her son Jimmy and her grandson Junior. With this record, the band dives deeper into human emotion than ever before, touching on dark and complicated subjects including addiction, heartache and isolation.
Along with this new batch of material comes new challenges when translating it into a live setting. The group has opted not to play the songs in consecutive order, but rather mix them with some of their older material for a more engaging and exciting setlist.
"We concern ourselves with the question: How do we make that list as a whole feel great? How do we provide the best Lumineers concert experience? And I think that it's interesting how the way that an album is created with sequences is completely different [than in a live setting]," founding Lumineers member Jeremiah Fraites tells The Boot.
By filling the setlist full of songs from III, the Lumineers have been able to see firsthand how the music affects fans, both new and old.
"It's been powerful," Fraites shares. "We've met a lot of people, even journalists or interviewers, that will say, 'Hey, I've been sober for 20 years or five years.' Fans have said things like, 'Nobody knows this, but I've been sober for this amount of time.' I think it's really striking a chord with some people."
That feeling of deep connection that fans have shared with Fraites and his bandmates has left a lasting impact that they take with them each time they hit the stage. "It's a really personal and intense album," he notes thoughtfully. "And I think that kind of human connection is so important with music and art."
With three successful albums behind them, the Lumineers have now graduated from mid-sized venues to headlining large arenas. Fraites says this move to a bigger stage has given the band an even bigger burst of energy once the lights go down.
"It feels like going into battle ... like a gladiator," he explains. "We've never done a show like this."
Fans who are used to the band's high-energy, more intimate sets shouldn't worry about things changing too much with these larger-scale shows. Fraites says the increase in capacity brings both a sense of wonder and a new determination to put on a memorable show night after night.
"It's kind of mind boggling, remembering how we used to have trouble filling up a 200-person room years ago," he says. "Now, some of these very large arenas are the same where the NBA or hockey teams play. It's pretty surreal and so fun. I've never been more excited to be on tour."
Fans can see the Lumineers on their III: The World Tour at dates across the country through the end of September. Select tour stops feature support from Mt. Joy, J.S. Ondara, Shakey Graves, Gregory Alan Isakov, CAAMP, Jade Bird, Daniel Rodriguez and Diana DeMuth.
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