My friend Laura and I went to see Florence + the Machine in concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion last night. I have seen her live twice previously, once at Merriweather 2 years ago and then a year or two prior to that when she opened for U2 at M&T Bank Stadium. Florence Welch is an amazing performer, so I had been waiting anxiously for her to tour again. She was announced in the lineup of a number of the big music festivals, so I was thinking she might be part of the Firefly lineup, which is the closest large music festival to Baltimore. I was disappointed when that lineup came out and she wasn’t part of it, and in fact the entire lineup was not very exciting. However, a few short weeks later Merriweather announced she would be playing there in June instead. That’s even better in my book. It’s cheaper, closer to home, and doesn’t involve being at a large music festival. FYI, call me crazy but I like to go to individual shows rather than music festivals.
Speaking of music festivals Florence broke her foot back in April during the first weekend of Coachella when she jumped off the stage. Every video I saw of her performing after that she was sitting on a stool, and I was bummed thinking that might still be the case for her Merriweather show. Happily last week she performed on the Tonight Show and I saw that she was up and moving around. I thought maybe she might still be a bit more subdued than usual, but I really didn’t need to worry because she was dancing and running around the stage and into the crowd as much as usual last night. She did mostly choose to use the stairs off the stage and down into the crowd rather than jump into it. At the end she did kind of step off the stage onto the gate separating the crowd from the stage and then step down into the crowd from there, but it was a far cry from throwing herself off the stage like she did at Coachella. In addition to her trips down into the crowd, she she brought one guy from the audience who was up front holding a poster board that just said HUG! on it onto the stage to in fact give him a hug.
In addition to obviously loving the audience and interacting with them both from the stage and by becoming part of it, one the things that makes Florence such a great performer is her energy on stage. She is always running and dancing around and it’s just a joy to watch. She did at one point trip on the long flowly trousers (as she called them) she was wearing while and fall while flying around the stage. She said she is strictly forbidden from breaking anymore bones, but she can’t help but go all out. I definitely believe her on that one because she is kind of crazy, but it’s so much fun.
The music was fantastic as well of course. She sang a good mix of songs from her three albums. She played all the big hits like “Shake It Out”, “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”, “Dog Days Are Over”, “Sweet Nothing”, and “No Light, No Light” plus the two singles off her new album during the show, so I was wondering what she was going to do for an encore. She wound up doing two new songs, “St. Jude” and “Delilah” and then ending out the show with the first song that ever really went anywhere for her “Kiss with a Fist”. It wasn’t your typical encore, but I can get behind that. Who says your encore has to be always be your major hits.
It was an amazing concert just as I expected it would be. She’s been great every time I’ve seen her, but this time might have been the best. If you ever get the chance I can’t recommend seeing Florence + the Machine highly enough.