In all of my years of blogging, I haven’t felt the need to pause and discuss just how important concerts and music have been in my healing journey… but last week, when I saw Florence + the Machine for the second time at Merriweather Post Pavilion, I was fully captivated by the musicality and magic that exists when she enters the sanctuary of her stage. The scene cannot be represented with my words and even my photos from the concert or the videos that I’ve seen uploaded only paint a sense of her performance…
Truly, you would have to be standing there, in the front rows, as she extends her body, voice, and soul into the immediate aura that is, her audience.
There are musicians who can perform and there are performers who are musicians, but what Florence and her magical machine offer in those hours of singing, movement, and direct engagement with the crowd is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. Specifically during this tour, I saw such light, reverence and passion coming from her back-up singers and brass ensemble. From the entire band, there is a collective force of some of the purest energy I’ve ever encountered… and I work with children! 😉
There were times I didn’t know whether I should be cheering, laughing, crying, bowing, or lying back as if I were blissfully staring into a sky of stars on a cool summer night.
Her performance, with her surrounding “machine” took me back to a sweet and innocent place where I could flirt with angels, feast on the inhibitions of childhood, and reconnect with both the internal and global peace that comes with being in harmony with others who were open to love and being lifted out of their own baggage.
I know that every performer carries a humanity that would probably make fans blush or “lose respect” – we are in fact, human, no matter how many perceive us as imperfect in our art. For me though, it is the humanity that I perceive in Florence’s art that causes me to pause in gratitude, like I have found an artistic mentor or temporary guru in my path towards self-awareness and healing.
I am one who has never truly known how to be vulnerable. I can “do” vulnerability and “choose” it, but to embody it to the point where I don’t even know it is my state of interaction is the goal of my whole existence. She appears to me, to already have that down and maybe I am a fan with an inaccurate picture of her “real life,” but that is okay – that is art… it draws us to be clear about what we dream, how we hope, and what we choose as a priority for our lives.
So to close, I want to thank Florence + the Machine as well as her devoted FANS –
… because it is the collective energy that can be felt at her shows that surely empower her to bring the magic to her musicality. When you’re at one of her shows, there is a cosmic pause that affirms all things vulnerable, all things love, all things broken, and all things… human. There is a deep surrender to the Heartlines that connect us all. I cherish this music and the experience of her profound lyrics and presence.
Namaste, Florence + the Machine… for the badassery you’ve brought forth for yourself and for all of us – your interconnected web of love and light otherwise known as… your fans.
“Oh the river, oh the river, it’s running free.
And oh the joy, oh the joy it brings to me.
But I know it’ll have to drown me,
Before I can breathe easy.
And I’ve seen it in the flights of birds,
I’ve seen it in you.
The entrails of the animals,
The blood running through.
But in order to get to the heart,
I think sometimes you’ll have to cut through.
But you can’t…
Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News, SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine, Blue Mountain Arts, and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.