Mum­ford & Sons serve up an ace at old courts

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Mes­fin Fekadu

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.

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