Live music is great, and I’ve always enjoyed hearing artists perform live. Even from when I was a little girl, I can remember running around community festivals and wedding receptions like a crazy kid, high on life.
For me, concerts are wonderfully unique experiences. The feeling I get when I’m standing in a crowd of people listening to an artist I love, or even one I’m not as familiar with, is nearly indescribable. The emotions are so cathartic and energizing (at the same time) that afterwards I struggle to remember the details. It’s like I don’t believe that it was as wonderful as I remember. Maybe that sounds counterintuitive, but that’s how I feel.
I’m going to try and capture the feeling from last night’s concert so I don’t forget. So I can remember those conflicting emotions when I need them.
The stage is dark, and all you see is the silhouette of musicians taking their places on various pedestals with glowing lights behind their bodies. The crowd is quiet, but for two humming girls in the center of the lawn. They’re standing close enough that they can feel the other’s presence, and their bodies vibrate with the anticipation of an event they’ve waited years to experience. You can tell they’re old friends. Two people who have seen nights filled with drunken laughter, days of frustrating struggles, and long talks that could never end, but rather pause and pick up again at the next available opportunity. But mostly, they’ve seen moments that they’ll never be able to forget. This is one of those moments.
Then the red head appears. She wears a gauzy pink dress of the exact quality it should be. The music starts. A pulsing beat that is impossible to ignore. The crimson figure twirls and sprints and moves to the sounds she created. An athletic display that would leave most breathless, but she croons and belts her tunes as if in defiance of the rules of breathing.
And while the rest of the lawn remains still, two girls are not. The vibration from a moment ago is now full-on motion. The girls jump and flail and shake. Arms jerk up and down, knees bend over and over and over, and yet, the rest of the lawn remains still.
For someone looking on at the spectacle with a birds-eye view, you might believe the two girls were hearing something that the rest of the crowd was unable to access. Almost like a prayer was being said in a language only those two could understand. Watery eyes, goosebumps (despite the hot, humid conditions), and again, the motions that have overtaken their bodies, are the only real indicators that something more than just music is being pumped into the stadium, to their ears anyway.
Later their bodies slow. It’s a gradual process, but eventually, they are the ones who are still. The crowd is now fully warmed up and jerking their bodies in any and all semblance of dance, while the girls listen. As time passes, the crowd and the girls become in sync in their motions. They have finally consented to “having this dance” together. The moments of singularity have passed, and what is left is understanding.
Florence wanted to capture the feeling of being able to breathe in an impossible place, and she captured it. A feeling that is unknown to most, and pondered by few. A feeling that you didn’t even think about wanting to replicate, but she makes you yearn for it – this. An experience, you can’t put your finger on. She makes the crowd remember feelings from childhood they’d forgotten. She makes the crowd remember feelings from adulthood they’d rather forget. She makes everyone recall some event from somewhere that was, prior to this moment in time, not really acknowledged.
Is that why we listen to music? Is that why we can connect with individuals with whom we had assumed there was no common ground to stand upon?
There are some people in this world who have the talent to express themselves in a way that makes you stop. That makes you turn to others and ask, “Do you hear that?”
Until next time or not, I’m still Cait.