Mumford & Sons serve up an ace at old courts
NEW YORK — Mumford & Sons were in the tennis spirit at the reopening of the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens.
The Grammy-winning British folk-rockers performed a sold-out concert Wednesday for 16,000 fans at the stadium’s West Side Tennis Club, which hosted the U.S. Open until 1978. Near the end of their set, the foursome played tennis onstage — using a racket at times, and a guitar and banjo at others. They also threw balls to fans in the crowd.
It was the first show at the historic 90-year-old stadium — where acts from Jimi Hendrix to the Beatles to the Rolling Stones have performed — in more than 20 years.
Mumford & Sons electrified the crowd — even when it rained lightly — playing the well-known hits Little Lion Man, I Will Wait and The Cave, as well as other songs from their two multiplatinum albums.
“Yes, Forest Hills, Queens, New York. We just can’t believe you all came. This is amazing,” keyboardist Ben Lovett said. “We were like, ‘Are you sure you can invite 17,000 people to a tennis court?’ It hasn’t happened in a long time.”
The venue’s prime ended when the Open moved five kilometres away to Flushing Meadows, and its days as a music venue — where Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan also performed — faded amid complaints from neighbours about noise, crowds and cars parking on residential streets.
The streets were packed Wednesday as thousands headed into the stadium, with police officers guiding cars and people on the streets. Some concertgoers had trouble getting into the packed venue, and the West Side Tennis Club said Thursday it would offer refunds to any unhappy fans. The venue added it is working out the issue for future concerts. Tickets for Wednesday’s show cost $74.