It is Australia Day, and the air pushes down on us with a force only Australians can describe. My friend Meg and I are ten metres from the stage, buried 30 000 people deep. When I had agreed to take the spare ticket for Florence + the Machine, I’d thought to myself, do it Lisey, you never go out like this. Half of me begins to remember why I don’t normally go out. The other half of me feels pretty from layers of beauty school approved cream foundation. It makes me smile to see Meg smile despite the buckets of sweat pouring off my skin. This is why we came, we’re here to get our socks rocked off by a superstar, and it feels kind of good to be a part of the crowd.
After three hours of standing – without water – my blood starts rushing to my extremities. I recently got over pneumonia and the fear of germs I developed in hospital kicks in as I smell someone’s mummified body odour. I realise how weird concerts are: standing for hours on end to see a stranger, with other restless strangers. Meg and I try to stick it out but minutes before the band finally comes on stage, we dive back through the layers of people. We bob and weave, searching for a vendor with water.
“The show was ending and I had started to crack
Woke up in Chicago when the sky turned black…”
The lyrics break over our heads and we slow down, there she is–Florence Welch, twirling and hypnotising us with her aura. Some audience members are drunk; others have definitely taken something. But for the most part we are all transfixed.
In all honesty, I’m not sure whether it was entirely worth it, but the jury is still out. I loved spending time with Meg and when everyone began to sing together the hairs on the back of my neck did indeed stand on end. That made up for a lot of the breaches in concert etiquette other people made.
I like to believe the audience connected with the band’s message–love, peace and acceptance. Surely only good can come from so many people entering a space and feeding off that energy and belief in compassion.
“What I appreciate is acknowledging to the audience that I think they have brains.”Lily Tomlin, American actress, writer & comedian