I finally got a chance to go to a Florence + the Machine concert! I didn’t go to ACL to see her in 2015 because I was pregnant, and the previous years I didn’t know she was playing until it was too late to buy tickets.
So let’s back up to 2011. My husband sent me a youtube link to a video for Dog Days and I was all “meh”. I wasn’t sold yet. Cut to a few months later and I had a chance to listen to the rest of Lungs and was all “Hey this is really good you should check her out!”, to which he pointed out his introduction to the whole thing months prior. Anyway, Lungs and soon Ceremonials were added to the old itunes playlist in there with my showtunes and techno songs.
Then in 2012 my husband left for a year to work in Afghanistan. While he was gone I spent most of my time doing terrible art (which has all been thrown away), recovering from a long term illness, and took care of our latest kiddo. During that time I was reading up on Frida Kahlo when What the Water Gave Me was released. Then I started listening to Ceremonials about every other day, then the entire playlist just became all Florence all the time. Sure, I listened to NPR in the car and Die Antwoord at the gym, but at home in front of the computer it was Florence + the Machine. To this day I haven’t really watched her music videos or anything like that, but if she releases a new single or one gets added to a movie soundtrack or spotify it goes on repeat for a few days.
That pretty much has gone on for the last four years. When the latest album launched last year I bought the ultra deluxe album version where every song is on it’s own record, then I went to Target the day it came out to get the cd with two extra songs on it. I’ve got both record store day albums and a pretty red vinyl record with Sweet Nothing on it. When the XM Radio sales reps asks what I listen to in the car when I tell them I don’t use the service and don’t want to pay for a subscription I’m not certain they believed me when I said “just Florence + The Machine, and NPR”. Then last week, after all that time I finally go to see the band play in concert.
So how was it? Welp, compared to seeing Eric Clapton, Lindsay Buckingham, The Mars Volta, Journey, and Alanis Morissette all live… it was the best concert I’ve been to. The 360 Amphitheater over at the race track is really nice. We sat in section 102 so she wasn’t a yellow and orange speck in the distance. Next time I’ll get pit tickets closer up.
They started off with What the Water Gave Me, which was fitting because it had done nothing but rain and storm for the first half of the day and everyone was worried it was going to rain during the show. Luckily it cleared up about an hour or two before showtime and it was really nice outside. We ate dinner at the show while Grimes played, you could see her on the big screens around the venue and hear it all but we didn’t sit down until just before Florence went on. When the show started Florence walked out in one of the swooshy dresses she has been wearing on tour, but I couldn’t tell if it was yellow or lime green with all the lights and such going on on stage. She handed flowers out to the crowd just before they began to play.
I threw together a spotify playlist of the setlist that night:
The show was great, the version of Sweet Nothing was done acoustically as opposed to super techno mode. During one song, I can’t remember which one, she asked everyone to take something off and swing it around. By the end of the song she had about three or for folk’s shirts in her hand swinging them around as she sang. That’s one of the coolest parts, she can sing perfectly while running around the stage or doing some interpretive dance. During Rabbit Heart she asked everyone to jump along with the chorus and every single person from the front to the back of the crowd did so in unison. Before the show, the stage hands were testing the fog machines to which folks in the pit would vape clouds back at to. There was a point in one song where there was an expected pause in which Florence held her hand out and the entire crowd went 400% quiet for a few seconds until she began to sing.
The folks who sat in front of us got up and left before the encore, which I found odd. Who does that? Did they know where they were? They sang along with the music, they obviously were fans. She played two more songs they missed. Oh whale.