Concerts are a very rare feature in my life; I love music, yet am generally so out of the loop when my favourite artists are touring that I do not notice when they come and go. When I do, I am often too scared to bother attending because when it comes to venturing into the wild outdoors, my co-dependency springs up crying “There will be crowds! Crowds and noise and you don’t know anyone who can escort you in and out of this safely!” So I stay home and dream instead.
This summer, though, lady luck smiled upon me and I was given the chance to attend Florence + the Machine’s Vancouver show for her Ceremonials tour at Deer Lake Park with my dear friend Janice! It was the perfect opportunity. I am a great fan of Florence, albeit a rather recent one, so the artist in question made this a much anticipated summer event for me from the start. Add to that a mate to keep me company during the whole thing, and possibly rescue me from dwelling on the possibility that my nightmares come true and I am literally devoured by a large crowd. (We all have our personal boogeymen…)
When asked how my evening was after the fact, I had one thing to say in particular: Florence was great. I do not imply that the experience was something akin to having to dance on hot coals while beautiful music plays to partially soothe your aching feet somehow, but there were a few hang ups to be had. Some were self-made: my friend and I had a chance to claim a great spot towards the front of the stage, but we wasted it for love of pizza. We decided to chill on the grass for a bit before Florence came out, thinking we could just run up at some point and cut through the crowd like butter. (Or, well, I naively thought as much.) Nope! When we did choose to join the crowd, it had turned into an impenetrable fortress, at least for two mild-mannered young ladies. So our view of Florence was… slightly compromised.
Actually, no. That was a bad analogy. The crowd was more like a selectively-permeable cell wall. Throughout the show, there were many instances of people shoving their way through the area Janice and I had managed to settle in. It felt like Grand Central Station at times. After so many sorry-coming-throughs, I began to get a touch … irritated at something I should have expected when going to a sold-out show and choosing to stand with the bulk of my fellow concert-goers.
Yet, through all minor annoyances, including my camera and phone conking out minutes into the show, I can’t regret the experience. I could not see Florence all that well, capture the moment, or be of a wholly cheerful disposition when the lovely lady in front of me let her cigarette dangle with the smoking tip facing my way… I could still hear Florence just fine. Her powerful voice reached me, and while I did not forget the things that irritated me, I chose to accept them and love the show nonetheless. Most of my favourite songs were on the setlist! I would be jumping up and down happily at each song and was just grateful for my opportunity to be there at all.
Hopefully, though, the experience will help me prepare better for the next big show I attend in my lifetime. Everything is a lesson!