Flyleaf is one of my favorite bands and has been hugely influential to me and my life and my creation of art through writing. I never saw them live. Now the band itself is still around but Lacey stepped down as lead singer, putting our her solo album earlier this year after taking a bit of a break. While I enjoyed Flyleaf's newest album with their new singer, I loved Lacey's solo album: there is just something about the way that she sings and writes lyrics. So when I found out that she was going to be kicking off her solo tour in Scottsdale, well, I started to wonder if I couldn't make time to go. (Getting back home at nearly 1:00 AM on a Thursday night isn't exactly ideal.)
I don't really go see rock bands. I think the first concert I went to was Chris Tomlin with Matt Redman--maybe some pop rock but completely different. I see more in the semi-classical range: Josh Groban, Andrea Boccelli. I got to see Blondfire a couple years ago (though I used to love their music, strangely, right around the time they came to Arizona was when they were starting to release new music that I just can't enjoy)--they have an airy, indie pop, euro pop sound (incidentally, they came to the same venue that Lacey did). I did see U2 last year, which was great, but it was also such a big venue.
So seeing Lacey live was something a little different for me I guess. I usually listen to music with headphones, so to actually get all of the drums and guitars at full volume is really another experience. And then to get to hear the vocals live, to see Lacey up close and see the passion with which she delivers her performance. (This is the great thing about small venues: you can be all the way in the back and still be right there.) It isn't just a repeat of the studio sound: it's freshly delivered and therefore comes with a fresh emotional impact. As near as I can remember, here was the set list (or something like it):
"I'm Not Laughing"
"You're Not Alone"
"Feels Like Forever" (I think)
"Run to You"
"All Around Me"
"I'm So Sick"
"Call You Out"
Most tracks were from her album, Life Screams (though she didn't play the title track). There were also a couple from Flyleaf's Memento Mori, one from New Horizons, and a couple of others (there was a good one that she said she doesn't get to sing often, but I didn't recognize it or catch the name of it). She skipped the words/conversation for "Vanity" but delivered the ones that start off "Rot;" that was cool to see live and I think helped me understand some of the messages in the pair of tracks. That's the thing about Lacey's songs: sometimes their meaning (or at least general meaning) is clear but sometimes there is a backstory that you kind of need to know to realize who the speaker is or what the setting is or what the exact message is. She shared something about "You're Not Alone," for instance, that gave a new perspective to it.
Such energy she brought onto the stage. Moving and singing like she has something very important to say--and she does. She only talked a little bit during the show, but just enough to complement the songs, to remind you of their significance. "I can't hold my head up in this dark room anymore. I need a lightning bolt to save me from this grave. Here comes fresh fire. . . . Oh my God, you've won the coldest battle we've fought. Deliverance is mine from more of this beauty that'll rot." The pain, the answer, and the decision to accept the answer and to live it. "Every morning I see another miracle. I can't believe I'm living the impossible. We are the sign and we are the wonder. . . . I choose to be alive."
Lacey screams out a message and she wants to make sure everyone hears it. That makes for an incredible live performance. And she reminded me anew to live with passion. Whatever you do, do not be passive--and drive your passion from the right source toward the right ends. Live. Live because you know what it is to not be alive, because you have found something greater than that--and you want to be it and to share it. Don't fall back.