Florence + The Machine’s Dazzling Concert

There was a goddess in Mountain View the night of October 5. With her fiery red hair, powerful green eyes, and of course, her entrancing, melodious voice, it was no wonder her face never left the enormous screen. The captivating vocal talents of the beautiful Florence Welch, lead singer of the English band Florence + The Machine, kept every single ear in the crowd perked up and every mouth singing along to her sacred lyrics.

They opened with “Only If For A Night”, the first track on their newest album Ceremonials,which lent the Ceremonials Tour its name. Right away, there was a pulse traveling through the thousands packed into Shoreline Amphitheater. This impressive number was followed by another hit from the Ceremonials album; “What The Water Gave Me”. Florence had an incredible way of connecting to her audience. She told us that she loved it here in San Francisco (close enough) and that she had spent the day shopping at Height and Ashbury. This announcement got many cheers and hollers, after which she asked us to embrace our neighbors and get to know each other, since we were all in fact “just a bunch of hippies”. Her genuine giggles combined with the way she gracefully pranced around the stage seemed to put everyone present in a trance.

She continued with a couple of songs from her previous album, Lungs;”Drumming Song”, which features unique but heavy percussion as the song suggests, and “Cosmic Love”, which had everyone chanting “the stars, and the moooon, they have all been blown out” together in an echoing chorus of harmony. Then came “All This And Heaven Too”, a beautifully uplifting song to which Florence had us all swaying back and forth. As this song came to an end, she shockingly requested that every pair of friends, lovers, or strangers lift each other up and put each other on their shoulders. Petite figures instantly rose up above the crowd, from the floor seats to the lawn, and a smile spread across Florence’s face as she began counting all the bodies she saw on shoulders. It was an odd yet perfect entrance into the song “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”.

Next came the song “Spectrum”, one of the most upbeat tracks of the album. This song, Florence told us, was written with San Francisco in mind. The energy moving through the crowd was alive and palpable, and flashing beams of light ricocheted across the stage to the beat of the tune. The entire atmosphere was wondrous. Despite Shoreline being an outdoor venue, and contrary to common beliefs about Shoreline, the acoustics were incredible. Even as far back as the lawn, which was where I was seated, I could clearly hear Florence’s yelps pierce the night. In addition to the great sound quality, the weather was perfect. For an after-dark concert, it was quite warm!

After “Spectrum” she performed “Breaking Down”, a song that appears pleasant and bubbly on its surface , until you listen to the lyrics. However, she quickly changed direction with the acoustic version of both “Heartlines” and “Leave My Body”, two songs in which her authentic talent is sincerely showcased. With that strong of a voice, everyone was kept awake and wanting more, although it was starting to get a little late. Florence began wrapping up the show with her last few songs. “Shake It Out”, one of her most well-known anthems, was eagerly welcomed and sang along to. As a conclusion to the main set, there was “No Light, No Light”, a powerful and haunting song which revealed Florence’s intentions of ending the night. But of course, after a solid ten minutes of cheering, the audience encouraged her back onto the stage for an encore, where she sang two more enchanting numbers. First, “Breath Of Life” took everyone’s breath away. Finally, “Dog Days Are Over”, the band’s second single,which reached the top 30 in the US, displayed an impressive and vibrant color show from the stage as well as a dedicated singer named Florence Welch who clearly gave everything she had left to provide her fans a flawless finish. She succeeded.

By: Shelly Garcia