Coke Live Music Festival 2013 – Review from the concert

Relacja z koncertu, Kraków, 10.08.2013

Relacja Michaliny Kowalczyk

Review from the concert, Cracow, 10.08.2013

Florence and the Machine’s appearance at Coke Live Music Festival 2013 could’ve been considered as one of the most important music events of the year. It is worth mentioning that despite the announcement of a 1-year break from any kind of public performances, the band decided to relieve a three-year-long wait for the Polish fans and become a headliner at the iconic Cracow festival.

After the wave of disbelief and euphoria, the time came to make solid preparation for the most important day of every fan’s life. The announced fan preparations for the concert attracted wide attention from a number of people arriving at the concert, and everyone willingly got down to business. What was to be done? First of all – the wreaths. On the 10th of August the fans’ heads were to be decorated with the majestic crowns of flowers which fit ideally into the festival atmosphere, as well as being a perfect reference to the Lungs era, when the Machines’ stage used to be submerged in artificial greenery. Florence herself would have often appeared wearing wreaths; moreover she had not hidden her joy as she had seen the floral ornaments among the crowd. Another action was called ‘What Florence and The Machine Gave Me’, referring to the third song from ‘Ceremonials’. During the performance of the track, fans were supposed to raise up sheets of paper with their answers to the following question: what did Florence and The Machine’s music give me? The last thing to do was to cover oneself with the greatest possible amount of glitter. It was meant to be literally everywhere – all over one’s hair, face and clothes. What is more, an extra dose of golden powder was to be brought to shower it all around during the performance.

An equally important part of the preparation was the creation of an album titled ‘The Story’. It contained letters and artworks addressed to the members of the band; furthermore, everyone who took part in it could be sure that the book would find its way into Florence and her Machine’s hands, meaning that all the works would be seen by the artists themselves.

On the day of the show, it was apparent that since the early morning, word of the concert preparations had echoed throughout the world and encouraged hundreds of people to come wearing colourful flower wreaths, smeared with glitter, holding flags, banners and sheets of paper.

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It’s 4 o’clock – there are still 6 hours left until the concert begins. The first performances came and went: Marika&SpokoArmia, The Cribs and a slight change of the line-up, Très.B. As the performance of the international trio ends, the excitement reaches fever pitch.

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The number of people who attended the show was the greatest in the history of the festival. The atmosphere is tense with anticipation; the endless chanting ‘Florence, Florence!’ can be heard along with the clapping in the rhythm of Dog Days. Our banners are hung on the barriers. The lights go down, the sound of the storm, the melody of Only If For a Night…and the Machine comes up on the stage accompanied by such an enormous applause of the audience that I am sure that people living in the surroundings of the airport could feel an earthquake rocking Cracow.

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The musicians find their spots by their instruments and suddenly Florence appears on stage. Wearing a black chiffon beaded dress, her hair combed in a loose updo, with a delicate make-up on her face, barefoot, etheric, she slowly approaches the centre of the stage. She looks shyly in our direction, bows, raises her hands up and begins. ‘And I had a dream…’. The audience is enchanted, people are screaming, laughing, crying. On the other hand Florence is extremely calm and collected, although it is apparent that these are just the externals – in fact she suffers from stress, her hands are shaking. The concert after such a long break must be a very intense experience for her and the band. At the beginning of the song she shows the sound technicians that there is something wrong with her speakers. She continues. From minute to minute she becomes more and more courageous. The raised hands of the tens of thousands of people give her strength and courage. The photojournalists by the stage keep trying to get the best shots, however everyone who came to the concert knows that there is no picture which could possibly resemble the actual beauty of Florence singing live. The last note of the song reverberates throughout the field, and the lights go down. We hear the first notes of What the Water Gave Me and we know that this is the moment. We raise up our sheets of paper as we chant the name of miss Welch. LOVE, FAITH, FRIENDS, EMOTIONS, ENERGY, RELIEF and a sea of thousands of other words expressing our feelings for the ban were revealed. The lights are on again, and Florence turns in our direction and… freezes. She sees our gratitude for her music. At first she brightens up, presses her hands against her heart, and then hides her face in her hands as tears appear in her eyes.

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She begins to sing looking through the words on our sheets. She is incredibly moved and intimidated, and her voice breaks. However a while later she focuses on the song alone to sing it the best she can. When the song comes to an ending Florence takes a bow and shouts: ‘Dziękuję (thank you) Poland!’ The noise of the audience moves the entire globe – I have no doubt about it. But this is not over. Flo replies ‘Kochamy Was! (we love you)’ and still in tears glimpses at our works.

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The next song on the set list is Cosmic Love, followed by Drumming Song. The power of this song makes the crowd of fans go insane. In addition it is visible that Flo is getting more and more courageous, operating more boldly with her voice and body. She behaves as an actress during the most important performance of her life, and her moves are indeed theatrical. At this moment it is absolutely obvious that Florence and the music are one. She moves her shoulders, her chest, her hips along with the rhythm of the drums and it looks just like all the sounds are coming out of each cell of her body. The next song follows. During the introduction, Florence opens the bag of glitter which she has got from the Polish fan club, and spontaneously she runs into the crowd and showers it all over the amazed people. She returns on the stage all golden and joyful like a child, proudly presenting her hands covered in golden powder and begins to sing Rabbit Heart. We know that within moments, another part of our surprise will come. Soon there will be the solo part of Isa and that’s the moment to raise them – our wreaths – up! As the right moment comes, Flo disappears! Nevertheless we continue clapping our hands, pointing the flower crowns up in the sky. In a split second Flo runs back on stage and immediately she finds her way towards the stairs to once more be closer to her fans. The glitter is poured in kilograms, Flo collects the wreaths from the audience and chooses one to put on her head and one to give to Isa (which is rewarded with a wild applause) as she brings the rest on stage and lays it at the bottom of her microphone stand ceremoniously. That moment was such a symbolic connection between the two eras of the band – Lungs (artificial flowers at the microphone stand) and Ceremonials (the stand in art deco style).

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The next pieces of You’ve Got the Love and Lover to Lover are played beautifully. There are no traces left of the shy Florence from the beginning of the gig. She is a scenic animal, self-confident and her fully developed voice caresses our ears with most delightful sounds. The vocal condition of Florence is simply magnificent. Even when she runs or jumps there is no sign of panting. The set list is completed with Heartlines, Between Two Lungs, Shake It Out and a charismatic No Light No Light with Florence playing the drum. Here’s the important information! During the show Florence beat her personal best of the longest note held ever! It lasted 24 seconds. Such things can only happen in Poland! There is still some time left for Spectrum, Sweet Nothing and the perfect finale of the concert – the cult masterpiece Dog Days Are Over with adequately cult jumping of the crowd during the chorus, given a signal by the vocalist. The mass cannot stop shouting ‘DZIĘKUJEMY’ (thank you) and clapping to express their gratitude for the 1 hour 30 minute display of the most incredible experience. Was there anything else to win? No, indeed! With all the confidence one must admit that the concert in Cracow became a legend in the Florence + The Machine history books. In no country before had people done so much for them. The devotion of the fans went beyond their (and our!) wildest dreams and now we can only expect a next performance in Poland, which – according to the vocalist herself – should take place shortly. We fans have done literally everything to make the 10th of August an unforgettable day not just for us, but also for The Machine. Our aim was accomplished and the best proof are the tears of Florence and her assertions that we were the best audience that they had ever happened to perform for (considering that the band had played on the greatest stages and festivals of the world, and the tickets for their gigs are sold out in just a dozen of seconds!).

So it’s evident. We, Poland, made it. See you soon for the next, and last, Florence and the Machine concert, in the city on the Vistula River…Rio!

Michalina Kowalczyk

After the concert, Flo posted this picture on her instagram:
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Chris & Rob has also tweeted about the gig:
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What’s more, Sam White from the choir tweeted us as well and said that she really liked th custom posters we made for the band. She even took one home!
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WHAT THE HELL IV - ogólnopolski oficjalny zlot fanów Florence + The MachineSZCZEGÓŁY

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