As I headed towards the Key Arena to see Florence + The Machine, I thought of the first time I heard her live in 2012 at Coachella. I wasn’t a huge fan, but wanted to check out a couple of songs to see how it would be. I never left the stage that day, and I always think of how she mesmerized me with the first note she sang. It really is a force that a few artists have and I’m so happy I discovered it that day within her. She was pure magic and I couldn’t believe that she changed my mind so drastically by seeing her live performance. It’s a tale I enjoy bringing up when my friends ask about her, so I can convince them to check her out if they haven’t already.
Then I wondered, “Was it really so amazing as I recalled it each time, or was it the magic of being in the desert having the time of your life with beer and fake mustaches?” Then we met again at Bonnaroo in June this year. I thought, “I like her a lot, but it probably won’t be like the first time.” No, it was even better. The performance was even livelier and all of us Roovians had the time of our lives, especially the girl who got to run up on stage and give her a hug.
Around 9:15 while everyone waited for her to take the stage we noticed her walking through the pit handing flowers to the fans in the front row. She walked through and went up the stairs she had in front of the stage. The 3 songs were “What The Water Gave Me”, “Ship to Wreck”, and “Shake It Out”, which is my favorite song of hers. I knew I only had a few minutes to get some good shots but I couldn’t keep going. I put my camera down for a couple of minutes to sing along and the exact moment I did that she looked right at me and smiled.
Before playing “Third Eye”, she asked everyone to put their phones away and just be in the moment with her. She even joked about seeing that one person who would try to pull it out. “Don’t be that guy, I can see you”. She shared that she wrote “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” here in the States during her last tour. “I fell in love at that time, and not just with a person but with everything. You know how love can do that to you? I hope you all feel that way tonight.”
She chatted with us about how she had a day in Seattle and walked around the Market buying things and found a vintage store where she bought a lot of stuff, that she probably doesn’t need. She laughed as she said she won’t be needing any of the coats she bought as she’s going to Australia next.
She then told us the story of how “Cosmic Love” was written, after a night without sleep, being a little hungover, riding her bike to Isa’s house (Isabella “Machine” Summers). It was the beginning of what would become “Lungs” before they even knew what the song would be. Then she went into a slow version of “Sweet Nothing” that started on the electric guitar, followed by “Spectrum”, which brought out the dance party.
Her last song before the encore was “Dog Days Are Over”, and through it she told us to look to the person next to us, embrace each other, and tell them we love them. During the bridge she urged us to take one piece of clothing off, something we want to get rid of, and wave it around like a flag. As she herself took her satin vest off, a lot of people took a piece of clothing and they waved it above their heads as she ran back and forth the stage waving her vest. Soon enough some bras and shirts made it on stage and she picked them up and waved them all above her head. When it was time for the music to pick up again she jumped and threw everything in the air letting it go.