Is there anything more exhausting and delightful than a post-concert hangover?
Not a hangover in a literal sense (though I spotted some inebriated folks who are likely feeling pret-ty fantastic this morning). I’m talking that residual rush of seeing a really, really great show — the kind that keeps the tunes ringing in your ears. One that makes you sing and holler so hard you can’t shake the scratchiness of your throat. A concert that finds you dancing so much your legs and arms ache.
And on a work night, too. I’ve still got it.
My sister, her boyfriend and I went to see Florence + the Machine in Columbia, Md., on Wednesday night. I’ve been a fan since seeing the British band perform “Shake It Out” on New Year’s Eve as the clock strung 2012. The lyrics really affected me; I found myself thinking about the song for days, and didn’t waste much time purchasing “Ceremonials.” Her music has been the soundtrack of my year.
Eric found out Florence was coming to town — on Tuesday. For the Wednesday night show. Unleashing this news on Katie, perhaps the biggest fan of all, meant we were scrambling to get tickets — and we somehow (how? I don’t know) snagged some just four rows up from the pit. (And very close to Cecelia, by some twist of fate! Yay!)
Florence is . . . how to describe Florence? Magical. Ethereal. Otherworldly. Intoxicating. Her show was an event, and I emerged from my dancing and singing and swaying as a sweaty in the cool, damp air of early fall. As the lights came up, I blinked like I’d emerged from a trance. Everyone else looked as exhilarated and bewildered as I felt.
The show was everything I love about live music. Florence was engaging and delightful, especially when calling, “Thank you, Mary-land!” (Our dear Flo is British, see; her pronunciation of my home state is much more lyrical than the local Murrland. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, Mare-lin.)
As we poured out of Merriweather Post Pavilion, I shouted to my sister, “I feel like . . . I’ve been through something. A spiritual awakening.”
“A revival!” she shouted back.
I’ve been to some shows where the band held a group under their collective spell (Hanson, anyone?). But that crowd? It was different. Everyone was bewitched by Florence — and it’s easy to see why. With her voice, style and the band’s hypnotic sound, the concert felt like a religious experience. Especially as our heroine entreated all of us to turn to those around us and offer hugs, handshakes, introductions. She wanted us all to be “friends.”
We did as we were told. When Florence said jump, we jumped. All of us. Everyone.
Driving home, my sister said sleepily, “Man, that crowd was ready to obey. She could start her own religion. I hope she uses her powers for good.”
And keeps making incredible music.