Florence and the Machine Concert

If you're not already privy to the facts, I have a concert bucket list - a list of artists that I absolutely must see live. Last year, I marked the first show off my list when I saw Mumford and Sons in Baltimore. This past weekend, my friend Nikki and I saw Florence and the Machine (FATM) at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, marking one more artist off of my bucket list. So much mention of marking names off of lists makes me feel like Arya Stark...a girl must see more concerts. 
Photo via Florence + the Machine's Facebook page
We had seats in the nosebleeds (luckily not the lawn, though, since it poured the rain throughout the show), so the photos that I attempted to take were low quality and indiscernible. That's ok because it encouraged me to actually watch the show with my eyes instead of my phone - more on that later. 

Of Monsters and Men (OMAM) opened. Their stage design was very dark and gave off a haunted forest vibe which went very well with their many nature-themed songs. The lighting for their set also projected the band's shadows onto the sides of the stage to further amplify the haunting feel.  It was very creepy and cool. Although I am not as familiar with their new album Beneath the Skin as I am their first, My Head is an Animal, they played enough songs from the first album for me to feel like I knew what was going on. Fittingly, the song "Dirty Paws" was dedicated to the folks on the lawn, aka the rain-soaked struggle bus. OMAM's set was solid, and I have an increased interest in their music now. Thanks, concert!
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok via NewYork.com
After what seemed like an excitement-filled eternity between sets, FATM finally came on-stage. Florence Welch wore a pair of pink pants, a pink vest, and a flowy white top - a very 1970s look that she rocked effortlessly. I won't go through every song they played, but I'll hit the highlights for you, my Hipsters. 

In her surprisingly timid speaking voice, Florence asked the crowd to be her choir for "Shake it Off," then blew us away with her larger than life vocals. She ran deep into the crowd during "Rabbit Heart," probably a stressful situation for the security guys, and although I was still really far from her, I could at least see her a little better. 

During "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful," a song Florence wrote while realizing that she spent too much time on her phone instead of experiencing the world, she requested that the audience not use their phones. Although most people complied, she fussed at the few that still used them. She looks better in 3D than on a phone, she said. That really moved me in how true that was (for all of life, not just this concert), so I didn't try to take anymore awful blurry photos after that point, and I really do feel like I remember the show better because of it. 

My biggest pang of jealousy came when Florence pulled three people on-stage for "Spectrum." They danced with her and got Flo-hugs. Such lucky folks. Again, she probably frustrated the security to no end with actions like that, but it shows a fearlessness and a love of her fans that I respect. Throughout the whole set, she ran back and forth on the stage, danced with true abandon, and performed with the most dramatic yet sincere flair I have ever witnessed. It was a wonder to behold, and a number of times I caught myself just standing in awe of her with a huge smile on my face. 

Florence said that she felt so much love from the audience all during the show and before "You've Got the Love," challenged us to take that love out into the world. This, too, was really impactful for me, and I've tried to practice that. For the last song, "Dog Days are Over," she asked us to take off something we were wearing and wave it in the air. I'd never been so happy to be wearing a hat. 

"What Kind of Man" and "Drumming Song" were the encore songs, and with that the show was over. I was sad but also so incredibly happy. When I saw Mumford and Sons, I felt fulfilled and like I was right where I was supposed to be. With FATM, it was a sense of happiness and a motivation to be better than I was when I walked into that pavilion. There is also a motivation to buy more Florence-inspired clothes and dye my hair red again, although I'm fighting the latter. 

To wrap up my FATM concert experience, I feel that the messages I sent Tadd are still the most applicable and fitting: "This lady is ethereal, always dancing, truly beautiful. I'm in love. It was amazing."

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