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Davis, California

Monday, April 22, 2024

Florence + The Machine at the Mondavi Center

After the spectacle that was the Florence + The Machine concert on April 18, I have strong suspicions that Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center was inspired and built for Florence Welch’s voice.

This show sold out during pre-sale, leaving many students confused and frustrated that they either 1) didn’t embrace their American Express cards the week before or 2) realize that something like this would happen, especially when a world-famous performer comes to Davis. And let me tell you this — there’s a reason why hundreds of people waited outside the box office to purchase tickets. Because Florence + The Machine for $42.50 is not something you pass up.

Most people only know them for “Dog Days Are Over,” brought to light to many by Glee, or for “Heavy In Your Arms” on the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack. There’s a reason why “Dog Days Are Over” got the most cheers and energy from the crowd. Let’s be real, unless you’re an avid Florence + The Machine fan, you’ve probably only listened to and appreciated a few of their songs. And sadly, that was me.

However, when my roommate screeched when the announcement was made on Facebook, I knew this was something worth investing in. The architecture in Jackson Hall that creates beautiful reverberations of sound is enough to bring most people to the venue. But combined with the powerhouse voice of Florence Welch? The effect of her voice booming through the hall continues to have lasting effects to this day.

Ethereal in all aspects, this show was nothing short of powerful. You would think that a concert in a sit-down venue would be disappointing, but the truth of the matter is, you were in such a trance-like state, melting into your seat, that it didn’t matter if you were sitting or standing. The utterly flawless sound escaping Florence’s body drew you in; her effortless, ethereal garb was fascinating as well.

Whoever designed the lighting for this concert deserves some sort of reward — either this person knows this band like no other or is a genius. With every beat of a song, some sort of lighting aspect corresponded to it. A constant orange glow surrounded Florence, leaving no need for a spotlight and drawing every eye toward the barefoot performer.

Heartbeats, breaths and ringing notes were represented in the variety of flashing beams, thudding pounds of pure color and extreme delight in design. Not only were you hearing and seeing the performance, you were feeling it. The entire set enveloped the performers’ hearts and possessed their entire bodies, something rare and extraordinary to watch.

Throughout the show, Florence commented on the audience, the tour and her activities before the show. Apparently, she shot hoops on campus, and she made jokes about how if we saw a redhead in basketball shorts running around, that it was her. With references to Pandora being a local radio station, it was clear that this woman devotes her life to her art — this not only made her more likable but also inspiring.

Slowly throughout the show, the audience snapped out of the trance it was in from the original shock of the sound produced in that room. About halfway through the set, almost everyone was on their feet, swaying with the beat, twirling or jumping around — basically, whatever Florence Welch was doing was what you were doing.

The entire night was sort of magical, spiritual if you must. But for some reason, the amount of energy present on stage was phenomenal. By the end, I felt as though only two songs were played, when in reality a full hour and a half of concert just took place.

As Jackson Hall emptied out, everyone seemed to be in a daze: confused as to why the show didn’t continue for seven more hours and in disbelief at what just happened. Because not only was that a full hour of damn good music, but the trance we fell into seemed to be everlasting. Now I just need some flowy clothes and red hair.

ELIZABETH ORPINA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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