Garbed in a loose-fitting, semi-opaque gown, Florence Welch emerges from behind the simplistic wooden backdrop that occupies the stage. As she floats toward the microphone, her bare-feet barely make contact with the ground beneath her. She opens the night with the beautifully dark ‘June’, from her latest album, High as Hope. It’s a torrid summer’s night in Adelaide, but Welch does not seem deterred by the extreme heat. Nor does the crowd, who obediently follow her instructions to “move your bodies” when she commands it.
There is rarely a moment of stillness as Welch bounds around the stage with endless energy, all the while belting out monumental anthems such as ‘Hunger’ and ‘Ship to Wreck’ without fault. For someone with so much stage presence, you’d be surprised at how softly spoken, timid even, Welch is as she takes a minute to address the audience before proceeding to move about the stage with a sort of disjointed elegance.
Pushing past her self-confessed shyness, Welch seizes every opportunity she can to interact with the audience. Before an intimate rendition of ‘South London Forever’, we are instructed to take the hand of the person beside us, so as to become one big, beautiful, ethereal mass. Next, we are made to feel “strange and vulnerable” as Welch requests that we put our phones away for ‘Dog Days Are Over’. But this disconnect is only temporary, and soon after we are permitted to draw them out again in order to create a sea of stars for ‘Cosmic Love’.
As the end of her set draws near, Florence takes the opportunity to show off her impressive athleticism, darting through the audience during ‘Delilah’, putting the security guards through their paces. It is only when she stops to dangle her delicate body in front of the audience for ‘What Kind of Man’ that they finally catch her. As the show comes to an end, the crowd lingers. It’s now our turn to make a command. We wait patiently, simultaneously chanting ‘encore’ in the hope that we’ll get just one more taste of Welch’s divinity. A roar erupts amongst the crowd as Florence + The Machine dutifully return to the stage for a final delivery of ‘Big God’ and ‘Shake it Out’. Then, just like that, Welch disappears once and for all behind the orange-lit wooden backdrop from which she had emerged at the start of the night.
Between Two Lungs
Only If for a Night
South London Forever
Dog Days Are Over
Ship to Wreck
End of Love
What Kind of Man
Shake It Off