Florence + the Machine - An Experience of a Lifetime
I have been in love with Florence + the Machine since I first heard “Dog Days Are Over” from the Lungs album when it was released back in 2009. I fell in love with the sound, the music videos, and everything about them! I remember watching the music video for “Dog Days Are Over” and how weird it was, everything about it was strange and I loved it! I’ve listened to all of their albums and I honestly can’t come up with one song I don’t love. So, when I found out that they were coming to Atlanta, I bought tickets right away! That was February, the concert was scheduled for June and so as I waited, my anticipation and excitement steadily built.
June 6th finally arrived and it was time to see Florence + the Machine! They were playing at the Ameris Bank Amphitheatere in Alpharetta, GA. While I’m not a fan of being outside, I felt that this environment was perfect for Florence + the Machine. It was supposed to rain, but we had seats under the covering, so we were good to go. Now, it was almost time to see this concert I had been excited about for the past 4 months. Part of me tried not to think too much about what to expect, I was afraid I would end up being disappointed, but that definitely wasn’t the case.
I went with my little sister, Katie, she’s not a mega, fan but I’ve been to so many concerts with her that she figured she’d do me a solid and keep me from going alone. After going through security we came upon a Fireball Whiskey booth where 2 ladies asked Katie and I to pose for a picture pretending to play Connect Four in exchange for some fans… not too sure where that picture will end up but, oh well.. we got fans! Upon arriving we found out that the opening act had changed. I’m going to be honest, I had no idea who the opening act was supposed to be in the first place, so I wasn’t bothered by it. Turns out it was Grace who was performing as the opening act. Many of you may know her from America’s Got Talent. She did an outstanding job! She had great energy and seemed truly thankful to be performing. She was very genuine and thanked Florence + the Machine and the audience multiple times for the opportunity.
Between waiting for the show to start and the time between set changes, Katie and I made a new friend! I don’t always talk to people like this, but Sadie seemed nice after she complimented my dress, so I struck up a conversation. One thing lead to another - Katie, Sadie, and I found ourselves discussing what savory scent we’d like to smell like if we had to choose one. Needless to say, we had quite the conversation! After the concert we added one another on Facebook, so now I have a new friend!
Now, to set the stage for Florence + the Machine. The crowd was a mix of all different types of people, but we saw a LOT of flower crowns (think Coachella). Katie started pointing out all of the light up crowns and was certain that they must be selling them somewhere. The atmosphere smelled of outside mixed with beer, alcohol, popcorn, and weed among other things. Katie swore she smelled green bell peppers, but I was pretty sure she either imagined it or didn’t know what beer smelled like. As they started unveiling the stage for Florence + the Machine, we took in its beauty. It was all wood and what stood out to me the most was the harp. It was all beautiful and simple which complimented the band perfectly.
As Florence walked out on stage the crowd roared with excitement! I was so excited to finally experience this performance. Florence graced the stage with elegance and had this ethereal presence about her. It’s hard to express how beautiful her performance truly was. I could tell that as she sang she was in her comfort zone. She danced and moved in a spiritual, but also sexual way across the stage as she belted out the songs we had all fallen in love with over the years. It was that majestic combination that I had grown to love over the years unfolding before my eyes.
Throughout the show, she stopped a few times to speak to the audience. Her demeanor was very different, almost shy. It was amazing to watch this powerful performer transition to this timid and humble human. She was so lovely as she made sure everyone knew that her concert and music was all inclusive and full of love. She even had the ACLU present at the concert and encouraged people to talk to them. At one point she had everyone tell everyone around them that they loved them and encouraged everyone to hug. Then she made everyone uncomfortable by telling us to put our phones away. Most people did but there were a few people being stubborn about it. She told us to politely ask anyone around us to put their phones away and then she said if we wanted to do it the English way, like the Queen, we could say, “PUT YOUR FUCKING PHONE AWAY!” We all had a good laugh and she continued the show.
I found myself throughout the night warring over whether I should take pictures and video or just enjoy the show. I did a little bit of both, but every time I put my phone away I found myself wanting to capture another beautiful moment. I got a few good pics and some great videos of Florence dancing across the stage. Mad props to those camera guys, they didn’t miss a beat and captured some majestic video.
Towards the end, Florence dedicated “Cosmic Love” to the audience and said without her fans she definitely wouldn’t be where she is today and possibly not alive for that matter. Shortly after performing “Cosmic Love”, she sprinted from the stage, running through the crowds of fans and then climbed up on the railing when she circled back to the front of the audience and sang “What Kind of Man” as she grasped the hands of fans. I could tell that she really loved her fans as she stood there with them. Several of them attempted to put crowns on her head and she politely removed them, placing them on the heads of fans. Even if she hadn’t, they wouldn’t have stayed in place for long as she was very at one with the music, even head banging to the beats of “What Kind of Man”.
After “What Kind of Man”, the band exited the stage. The crowd burst into cheers and applause hoping they would return. After a few minutes of building anticipation they did! They performed 3 more songs; “No Choir”, “Big God”, and “Shake it Out”. At the end of “Shake it Out”, Florence picked up a rainbow flag and waved it as she danced to show her support for the LGBTQ+ community and in celebration of Pride. And then it was over.
Florence + the Machine was hands down one of the most powerful, spectacular performances I have ever experienced. I don’t know how to put into words how their music makes me feel but it’s a freeing, almost spiritual experience and I am so thankful I was able to attend.