Shaking it Out to Florence + the Machine

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How does music change when you hear it live?

As the buzz of the crowd overfills an already crowded theater, we wait for the lights to drop and her to emerge from center stage. Breathtaking and transcendent, she astounds the audience with a voice that brings life to the lyrics we all know by heart. Singing with her in a crowd is a unique experience; together we become one.

I’ve seen Florence + the Machine in concert five times this year. Each show elicits some new memory – jumping around with my best friend, shedding a tear to an overly emotional song, watching awkward dancers try to catch the beat. While the set lists are almost identical, each experience adds a new depth to the meaning of her music.

At the smaller venues, the intimacy between Florence’s music and her audience sucks you into a trance. In contrast, her festival appearances highlight how relatable her lyrics are to thousands of people. I imagine what it must be like from her vantage point: looking around to see thousands of fans screaming the words to a song…that you wrote. Still, the smaller venues are personally more significant. Everyone is there for the same reason, to be united by the voice on stage.

Whether belting out hits like “Shake it Out” or showcasing some of her newer ballads like “Never Let Me Go,” Florence is an unforgettable live experience. No matter how many times you see it, it’s new. Venues, set lists, and costumes all influence the way the show adapts, but it’s the way Florence relates to me and the rest of the crowd that really defines the experience. It’s her voice resonating with my heart. It’s closing my eyes to escape the everyday grind and simply finding joy in the experience. It’s losing myself in the moment radiating from one powerfully kick-ass woman.

How does music change when you hear it live? Who have you seen (or would you want to see) more than once? What’s the best venue you’ve seen a show in? What happens in that space?

For me, Florence has become an addiction, a show I’ve needed to see again and again to prove that it was not a fluke the first time. If “Only for a Night,” I invite you to escape and give in to her musical ecstasy.