Florence + The Machine

Rod Laver Arena

The audience dressed like woodland elves, with garlands and candles in their hair eagerly awaited the arrival of ethereal beauty Florence Welch at Rod Laver Arena, a gathering of fans to worship at her alter.

Opening with ‘ Heaven is Here’ the red- haired beauty glides across the stage in a sky blue flowing dress, enchanting all that watch her. As she launches quickly into ‘ King’ followed by ‘ Ship to Wreck’, it isn’t until ‘ Dog Days are Over’ that she pauses to take a break. She very bluntly, albeit politely commands the audience to ” PUT YOUR FUCKING PHONES AWAY” , so that everyone can experience pure connection and joy, to hold their loved ones and truly live in the moment. It’s such a refreshing experience to look around and not witness a sea of people glued to devices making videos that will never again be viewed.

As the audience chants along to ” Dog Days are Over”, it is now that Welch truly has the crowd in the palm of her hand. To perform solo, and have this kind of command over a room of people is nothing short of extraordinary to watch.

Stepping down into the crowd for ‘Big God” she takes a fans face in her hands, and serenades her as tears stream down the delighted girls face. Her voice booms out across the audience, the words resonating through the flowered crowned crowd, and its almost like watching a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Florence the fairy queen enchantress. Florence’s voice is flawless, never missing a note and as she runs laps around the arena and through the crowd she is captivating.

When it comes time to perform her famous hit ‘ You Got the Love’ Florence takes the time to explain that we are very lucky to be hearing it, as for a time she refused to sing it. With the global pandemic making her realize what she loves most about performance, she has put the song back on the set list, despite the song being hard to sing. The whole arena erupts into dance and arms are thrown up in the air in sheer joy, united for a few moments.

Closing out the night with ‘ Never Let Me Go”,  ” Shake it Out’ and finally ” Rabbit Heart ( Raise it Up), Florence + the Machine have not only entertained the audience, they have managed to transport us to another world, free from everything other than a beautiful voice to guide us.

Words by Amanda Lee Starkey

Photo Credit: Jonathan White

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