Live Review: Florence + The Machine @ The Riverstage, 18.11.2015
Florence is a machine. There’s no denying that. After powering through a headline spot at Splendour in the Grass this year, and countless other inclusions in the lineups of some of the biggest music festival this globe has to offer. But witnessing the display of soaring vocals and an energy that would challenge any elite athlete’s, Florence + The Machine made a lasting impression on a sold out Brisbane crowd for the last night of her Australian tour. One of the best live performances we’ve seen all year, no question.
What the Water Gave Me soars into the arena to open a performance in true Florence style. A crescendo that takes your body over turned a sold out crowd into a mega-choir as the whole audience bursted into song, not missing a single lyric. The audience packed an energy that you could feel, with an electric atmosphere that could only be satisfied by one person. An energy shared with Welch herself as she pranced and danced her way across that stage for the entire evening. An hour and a half of non-stop motion; was this a Zumba class?
Despite all the dancing, I don’t think I heard one pant escape her mouth. The consistency in the power of those vocal cords are to be absolutely bloody admired. There’s a reason why her first record was called ‘Lungs’ and we think she just proved it. Holding notes for what felt like years was just downright impressive, resulting in cheers and squeals from a loving audience.
Perched up behind the heads of backing vocalists was a gigantic harp that demanded all the attention it deserved. You couldn’t help being mesmerised by it for firstly because it’s a fricken’ human size harp and secondly because the gorgeous cyclical motions of a gorgeous instrument sliced straight through the wall of sound. With the powerful tracks smashing their way into your ears, the delicate drips of harp brought each song back to earth and kept the band grounded. Cosmic Love however was the harpist’s true moment to shine, as does Welch. An acoustic version of the powerhouse track really stripped everything back to the bear bones of why fans fell in love with her in the first place. Soaring vocals that never falter, a delicate but powerful musicianship, and a lyricism that makes you believe in love all over again. A darling moment that won’t be forgotten.
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Spectrum and Rabbit Heart all made a welcomed appearance in the night of musical magic. Florence swung a setlist that covered her ouvre in the best way possible, with practically no favourites left out, one of the best ways to please an adoring crowd. Dog Days Are Over was undeniably themoment of the night. With thousands jumping, singing and smiles plastered across their face, the energy from both Florence and the crowd just exploded in one final hoorah. With clothes being stripped and waved before darting off the stage, Florence always knows how to keep the party going. It was then the inevitable encore chants roared that demanded more of this angelic woman, to which she returned to the stage, though with clothes back on (Good thing? Bad thing? You decide).
Her final night of her Australian tour went off exactly how any finale should. Always leave the crowd more and boy do we want more. Florence + The Machine has a powerful originality whose novelty still hasn’t worn off just yet. With three albums down, there is no doubt there will be more of that uncontainable talent to spill out onto another record. Her live performances stand alone in a realm of their own, giving 110% on all fronts. This was a woman, and band, who were born to play music.