If there were any complaints about the noise at The Vector Arena from the neighbours tonight, don’t blame Florence + The Machine. It was the audience that made the biggest sound. Their demand for an encore at the end of the band’s 12-song set was the loudest I have ever heard at The Vector. Such was the outright devotion on display for Florence Welsh.
It was only two years ago that Florence + The Machine were playing on a tiny outdoor stage just a few blocks away from The Vector for the first Laneway Festival. Since then, they’ve been back one other time, to perform at West Auckland’s Trusts Stadium. Now, with just two studio albums under their belt, and a recent “Unplugged” set, they’ve sold out Auckland’s largest indoor venue.
The crowd that showed up was mainly female and they were raring to go from the start, applauding wildly before the band even took the stage. The stage itself looked fabulous, with strips of faux stained glass hanging in the back to emulate the look of the Unplugged DVD (it was shot in a church). Of course Florence herself was stunning, practically gliding out to centre stage in a long, flowing robe.
As the crowd continued to cheer, they opened with Only For A Night, the first of nine songs from Ceremonials. While she sounded incredible, thanks to the two large video screens posted on each side of the stage, you could see her looking nervously toward the side of the stage a few times during the first two numbers.
The audience continued to add to the vibe, reaching out their outstretched arms toward the stage as the band began performing What The Water Gave Me.
This well-oiled Machine (they’ve been on tour since October) consists of 8 members…2 keyboardists, 2 female backing singers, drummer Chris Hayden, Mark Saunders on bass and percussion, guitarist Rob Ackroyd and harp player Tom Monger.
Florence herself proved to be a tireless performer, running, twirling, hopping across the stage while never missing a note.
After What The Water Gave Me, they dipped into debut album, Lungs, for Between Two Lungs, Cosmic Love, You’ve Got The Love and Rabbit Heart. After Cosmic Love, Florence dramatically dropped her robe to reveal her dress and to make it easier to run across the stage.
The crowd was right with her when she asked them to lift each other up, hop up and down and raise their hands. One lucky audience member was rewarded with a kiss from keyboard player Isabella Summers.
Then, after Dog Days Are Over, came that deafening encore. It was the last night of this particular leg of the tour and both the band and the audience were running on adrenalin by this point. Florence and the band returned to play a hymn-like Never Let Me Go and then Florence took to beating her own drum for No Light, No Light.
I admit that I am not a fan of the album, Ceremonials. The production is too bombastic and the songs get overwhelmed. However, the treatment they get in concert is much different. Yes, there is plenty of drama and bombast live, but there is also enough space to let the songs breathe. I recommend the Unplugged album over Ceremonials and I highly recommend seeing Florence + The Machine in concert.
Click here to view a gallery of stunning photos of the concert shot by Michael Flynn:
Florence + The Machine setlist:
- Only If For A Night
- What The Water Gave Me
- Between Two Lungs
- Cosmic Love
- You’ve Got The Love
- Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
- Leave My Body
- Seven Devils
- Shake It Out
- Dog Days Are Over
- Never Let Me Go
- No Light, No Light