Florence has been touring for 5 years now whether it is small town pubs, outdoor festivals, small indoor gigs or huge awards shows she has seen it all. It was announced that after this tour she and the band would be taking a year out. It was sad news but they deserve the break I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be working like that and have no solid home or routine for 5 years. I have always been a major Florence fan since 2009, I first saw her in 2010 in the Olympia Theatre Dublin where I had the once in a lifetime opportunity of her singing Happy Birthday to me in front of the entire crowd, a moment I cherish and will never forget.
I then saw her a month later at Oxegen on the main stage. Jumping about in the pouring rain outside was a completely different experience to the first time I saw her, I was in the pit and with the risk of nearly passing out around a bunch of rowdy drunken strangers I had to be pulled out of there halfway through the set for the sake of my own safety. Never the less I was still in awe at her performance, her energy on stage and interaction with the crowd allow her to be a such a popular festival act, I only wish I had been old enough to go to Oxegen in 2009 to see her perform in one of the small tents.
The third time I saw Florence was last Summer at Phoenix park, it was an unbelievable gig, my friends and I were lucky enough to get to the front barrier at the pit, this time however the crowd was not as rowdy and I was able to fully enjoy the experience, I brought a poster with me and I was lucky enough to have it shown several times on the big screen.
It was during my first week of college that the tickets for the O2 date was announced, I had unfortunately missed out on getting tickets to her gig in the 02 last march and was determined not to miss it this time and I can honestly say that the concert was worth every cent. My friends and I made it to the front barrier and although it was part of the Ceremonials tour the entire gig was like the Lungs era. I have seen Florence and the Machine perform twice during the Lungs era and Twice during the Ceremonials era but last week was definitely a Lungs gig. They went all out in their performance and there were no boundaries. Florence works best as a free spirit, most of her songs have not made it to number one but she has a massive fan base and has worldwide successful, I personally don’t think she works as a mainstream artist like Rihanna, during the release of Spectrum they over promoted and campaigned it on twitter and it reached number one but the video is so theatrical and publicised as some sort of “gay anthem” it has become one of my least favourite songs. Of course one of the great benefits of Florence becoming so mainstream is that I know get to hear her songs being played a lot in clubs, I adore Sweet Nothing and think everything about it - the video, the lyrics and collaboration with Calvin Harris is brilliant.
This is one of the reasons I think I was so happy to see Florence perform such a Lungs era manner. They all had dressed up as Clowns for the concert and she was dressed in the famous clown suit from the original “Dog Days Are Over” video, the first ever Florence song that I ever heard. I remember hearing it on the radio several times but it took me a week to find out who actually performed it after that I was hooked. During the performance she threw several pots of glitter into the crowd and encouraged people to “take it off” by the end of one song there was about twenty pieces of clothing on the stage as people frantically threw shirts, bras and headpieces in a hope that she would pick them up, like Lungs era she was drinking on stage and progressively got more drunk throughout the gig in true Florence style. At one point her and Isa started wrestling, knocking each other to the ground followed by them both jumping the barrier into the crowd and crowd surfing to the dismay of security who had to rush to the barrier and drag them out. Throughout the performance of “No Light, No Light” the members of the support band HAIM ran out to the barrier and started dancing along and shaking hands with people standing at the barrier, I was one of those lucky few who got to clap hands with Este, the bass player as she danced about with her sisters. During the encore of the set about 20 people ran onstage in full costume and started dancing and the reality of this being the final show truly hit me. It was both amazing to watch and really sad, Florence shed a few tears as they ended the show in true Flo style full of glitter and madness.
I can honestly say it is going to be really strange for Florence and the Machine to have a yearlong break and I’m really going to miss them touring about the place and making covers and new music. They have become such a big part of my life and I hope they enjoy it , today Isa tweeted about crying leaving the studio and only a few days ago Florence was spotted at the front barrier of The XX dancing along with The XX fans so I look forward to hearing the ups and downs and what they get up too, I believe they will be back as they recently tweeted days before the end show “this isn’t it”, but for now I have my Lungs and Ceremonials albums and since I saw a guy film the entire Dublin gig I can only hope for a DVD release of the tour.