That's what you tell all the girls, I thought. Florence Welch had just told the Firefly Music Festival crowd how beautiful we were and that we should all love each other and kiss each other's faces and whatnot, something that she's probably told every city this album cycle. When you go to a concert, you feel like it's tailored just for you, just for your town -- "[Insert city], you're the loudest," "[Insert city], you're the most amazing crowd I've ever seen!" -- but I'm the cynic that thinks about how many dates there have been on tour and how every night's antics and banter are planned out to makes fans feel special.
Firefly was the last night on Florence + the Machine's U.S. tour, and damn it, if we didn't feel special.
There's something about Welch that makes it seem like each time she steps onstage is the beginning of a 90-minute spiritual journey for her. She hurls herself left and right, she floats her arms to the heavens, she crashes down on her hands and knees, she scurries across the stage in her flowy dress like Scarlett O'Hara running from Atlanta -- it's almost as if she was reckoning with her own music... or with something much greater. As I watch her open with "What the Water Gave Me," my cynicism jumps ship. Her theatrics become unique to only this Dover, Delaware, crowd. "Why is everyone else here?" I heard one man say after a song, joking that he felt like the only one she was singing to. We were special.
She was like a religious leader, teaching us how to reach nirvana. "Raise! Them! Up!" she yelled before "Raise it Up," commanding tens of thousands to hoist their significant others on their shoulders for one song. "Will you be my choir?" she asked before "Shake it Out," waving her hands like a conductor as fans sang with her. "Turn off your phones," she instructed before "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful," and we obliged.
They say that singing while running is the best exercise for building stamina, and there's no doubt that she's full of it. Galloping barefoot around the stage, she coursed from each side multiple times per song, twirling around to the harp parts or the brass fanfares that launched her art pop career nearly 10 years ago. During "Raise it Up," she leapt off the stage and sprinted down the barricade that separated VIP from general admission and finished the song from a platform in the crowd, sprinting back up to the stage when it was over. That was the only time she had to catch her breath the entire concert.
"Spectrum" was one of the most powerful performances of the night, although it's nearly impossible to rank Florence's energy. She lifted a rainbow flag, singing, "Say my name, and every color it illuminates / We are shining, and we will never be afraid again." They're lyrics that carry terrifying weight after last weekend's massacre of 49 people in a gay club in Orlando. Again, she took the leader role, encouraging a "love is love is love is love" chant.
So what does it mean to see Florence + the Machine on the last night of her U.S. tour? Nothing really. Because it doesn't matter which city has the loudest crowd or the most beautiful faces. Welch illuminates all our colors and only hopes to elevate the love that we already have. We're all special, even though it felt like we were the only ones for the night.
Check out more live photos from Firefly Music Festival, below, and read the weird, overheard things we heard this weekend.