*Tries to compose self as begins to type*
Do you know what serendipity is? When everything falls together, perfectly, for a most splendid experience that you couldn’t have conceived of if you tried? That, my friends, is what I encountered last night, at the Florence + the Machine concert in Cleveland, Ohio.
I love Florence, desperately, passionately, deeply – and have made my love known on this site. Hell, she
is (WAS!!!) on my concert bucket list. Being that she’s a smaller, UK-based act, I didn’t think I’d ever get to see her live, let ALONE as a headliner, LET ALONE outside in the summer on the WATERFRONT!!!!! I was blissed-out, the whole night. And I didn’t even take any illicit drugs. 😉
I must set the stage, because that’s the kind of hairpin I am.
We were at Jacobs Pavilion (Formerly Nautica), in Cleveland. The venue is a smallish stage down in the Flats, which is the waterfront district. Holds around 5,000 people, is outdoors, but there is a mosaic of bizarre tarps overhead to form a makeshift roof, although you can still see building and bridges lit up around you. On the right night, it can be entirely magical. For me and 3 of my favorite fellow humans, it was the perfectly hot summer evening, hardly a cloud in the sky. Boats floated by, a light breeze was blowing. The place was packed, and to my delight, full of people who ADORED F+tM. Adored. The bleachers were shaking, pounding, and for once, I felt that I wasn’t surrounded by assholes who would rather play on their smartphones than pay attention to the show that they PAID TO SEE. Gah. I digress.. I shall not let poisonous pigs who weren’t even there taint my story. So, yes, the crowd was feelin’ it. I loved the dad in front of me who was with his daughter, they were both so, so, SO into the show!
As the stage was being set up, we noticed the harp, and knew it was go-time. Florence herself stepped out in super-dramatic fashion from between sheer fabric panels that formed a stained glass window. She was still, backlit, her dark red hair blowing (where was the fan?!), and swathed in some sort of mint green robe/dress/cape. She looked like fucking Galadriel. She opened the show with ‘Only If For A Night‘, which I adore, and so did the rest of the damn place. Any fears I had from seeing youtube clips where maybe I felt like the sheer enormity of her sound would not translate live, were assuaged, as she tore the roof off the fucking place and I noticed I probably should have brought a change of shorts.
I feel like every song was done well; soaring, pounding, building – everything I wanted and needed them to be, as her music gives new meaning to the term POWERFUL. ‘What the Water Gave Me‘ was stupendous…
Next came ‘Heartlines‘, followed by my #2 favorite track, ‘Between Two Lungs.’ I completely stopped breathing and am shocked I didn’t start sobbing. That song makes me want to run through a field of flowers, spin around, fall down, and stare at the heavens. Watching it performed with my own two eyes, well, let’s just say it was a special moment. I’d upload my own personal video, but you can hear me singing, and I shant subject ye kind readers to such a torment.
I was surprised by her ability to command and captivate the crowd. With her lovely accent and ethereal way of being, she made us clap, made us sing, made us JUMP IN UNISON!!!!!! And what blew me away is that we all listened. She utilized this talent during ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)‘ which honestly, has never been as awesome as in that moment. There was some sort of extra breakdown towards the end, and Florence and most of the crowd were jumping. It was euphoric.
My only complaint is with the song ‘Cosmic Love.’ This is it, the pinnacle, the chosen one. My most-adored song. The huge drum beats are like the most insane audio foreplay ever. But live, they are non-existent, and it’s done almost (but not) acoustically. What’s cool is that the section of the bleachers I was in had a huge group of people who pounded to the beat on their own, but it wasn’t the same. 😦 What’s done to it live is still stunningly beautiful and haunting (I could NEVER trash it!), but I need the drum beats, man.
The song ‘Seven Devils‘ was once noted by a Pajiba commenter as being able to make virtually anything sound epic, even buying frozen peas at the grocery store. Let me tell you – live, it was like being elevated to a new plane of existence. That song is HARD.CORE.
The final four songs of the night – ‘Shake it Out‘, ‘Dog Days Are Over‘, and the encore, which consisted of ‘Never Let Me Go‘ and ‘No Light, No Light‘ were ALL UTTERLY UNBELIEVABLE . I cannot fully express to you, how amazing these songs were to see live. Florence Welch and her accompanying musicians were a force to be reckoned with. If you have the chance to see this woman and her music, know that you’ll probably want a cigarette afterwards. Thundering, soul-splitting sounds filled the pavilion, and to belt ’em out, with several thousand others, in the warm summer air…was even more other-worldly than I could have fathomed.
2:40 ya’ll 🙂
0:55 *straight up shits pants*
Full set list: