Fun. opened their 2013 ‘Most Nights’ tour at Summerfest in Milwaukee on June 27, headlining the Marcus Amphitheater. The show marked a transition from smaller clubs to major amphitheaters, many already sold out, for the outfit that took home “Best New Artist” and “Song of the Year” at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Following their stellar performance at 2012 Summerfest, fans packed into the Marcus primed for the show.
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The trio–Nate Ruess on vocals, Jack Antonoff on guitar and Andrew Dost on keys–opened the show atop a riser at the rear of the stage. They were huddled together performing the intro to “Some Nights” before being joined by their touring entourage. Nate Harold, bass, Emily Moore, guitar and keys, and Will Noon on drums soon joined the others as they tore into “One Foot.” Ruess quickly bounced back and forth across the stage, feeling the energy of the fans.
Ruess was all smiles. He led the crowd through a chorus of “Whoa,” challenging them early to become one with the show. He didn’t need to try very hard. Their responsive cheers and backing vocals of the fans were on the mark from the moment Fun. set foot on stage.
After playing “All Alone,” Ruess addressed the crowd. “I love Summerfest,” exclaimed the vocalist, “Second year in a row!” They continued with “Walking the Dog” and “Why Am I the One.”Despite their dynamic stage presence, Fun. performed as a tightly knit unit. Their sound was pristine and Ruess’ vocals were spectacular. No signs of the wear that he seemed to be suffering from heading into the Grammys.
Ruess was clapping for the fans as hard as they were applauding for Fun. He said, “This is the biggest show we’ve ever played in our whole entire lives.” He later added, “How ya doing back there? I’ve never seen a crowd so deep, I’m gonna pay special attention to you.”
Antonoff is always a spitfire on stage and tonight was no exception. The guitarist was everywhere, though still hitting each lead break and timely riff with precision. Particularly on “It Gets Better” and a cover of the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” He also joined Noon on the drum riser for “Barlights,” adding percussion from the outside edge of Noon’s kit. A burst of confetti signaled the end of “Barlights,” with both Antonoff and Harold finishing the song while lying on their backs upon the stage.
A few notes of “Carry On” teased the crowd and they erupted into a deafening roar. He gushed with a huge smile and appeared overwhelmed with emotion. Ruess eventually launched into song with fans in tow.
Ruess and Antonoff had some playful banter between songs. After laughing about struggling with the spelling of Milwaukee, Antonoff segued into a discussion of Summerfest food options. Ruess joked, “Don’t you guys have baby calf on a stick?” He then dedicated “The Gambler” to his uncle “somewhere out in the crowd.”
A multitude of large glowing balloons were sent into the crowd during “We Are Young.” Ruess said, “I don’t think it gets better than this,” as he kicked a few balloons off the stage toward the crowd then added, “You guys have been amazing.” The vibe at Marcus combined with the emotional tie between the band and their fans made for a perfect evening.
Ruess went into the crowd for “Take Your Time (Coming Home)” to the crowd’s delight. By the time he got back to the stage to finish the last verse he could barely be heard over the fans’ cheering. Each time Ruess approached his mic stand, the crowd became louder. He eventually put his finger across his lips, hushing their cries, to finish the song and they left the stage.
After a brief pause, they emerged to a venue being lit with lighters and cell phones. Ruess said, “Do me a favor, save that for later because it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Right now I need your voices.” They performed “Some Nights” as their first encore accompanied by a monstrous sing-along. Wrapping up the evening with “Stars,” lighters and cell phones re-emerged and the night was concluded in grand fashion.
Before they left the stage Ruess said, “This is the first day of the tour and I don’t know if we’re going to top this. Let’s hope we get three years in a row with Summerfest.” Honestly, with nine days remaining at The Big Gig, it might be hard for any band to top Fun.’s performance.
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