Fire-haired Florence Welch and her machine deliver an excitable 90 minutes of anthemic power pop.
Arriving on stage to the rapture of a packed Rod Laver area, Florence Welch, the softly spoken siren and commander of the aforementioned machine, descends an illuminated staircase in an opulent floor-length silk and chiffon cape. Welch’s costume along with the overall design of the stage is highly referential of the Art deco elements prevalent in the groups latest LP Ceremonials, a design choice that offers a perfect symmetry with Welch’s swirling, powerhouse vocals.
It’s Welch’s voice that takes centre stage. There’s no doubting that Florence and the Machine’s songs are large and unrelenting, appearing as vast tornado’s of emotion and opulence. While the majority of tracks soared in a celestial crescendo, there were certain tracks that struggled to find their footing in the vast area environment. ‘Heartlines’, lost the tribal intensity evident in the studio version of the song as Welch and co decided to offer a slower rendition taking it from one of the album’s stronger tracks to this show’s weakest. Eerie, swirling ‘Seven Devils’ and power house ballad ‘Never Let Me Go’ also suffered a similar fate.
Aside from these mis-steps numerous other tracks sparkled with an infectious intensity. Key performances included Ceremonials album and show opener ‘Only if For a Night’ is pained opera of self-doubt and the search for empowerment . ‘Spectrum’ and ‘Cosmic Love’ (‘Cosmic Love’ appearing on debut album Lungs, songs from which are unfortunately absent from the set list) are also rousing incorporating the ensembles massive sound.
Although the stage design is immaculate, the vocals engrossing and the musicians work grandiose, the main element of the show however is interaction between Welch and her adoring legion of fans. Ranging from acknowledging a group of sign-toting girls in the upper stalls for having ‘the biggest sign of the tour’ to remarking “Hello! I like your headbands and your outfits”, a comment met with a cacophony of teen squeals fueled with a glee so infectious that it can be felt from across the venue. One audience member came close to rapture after a successful attempt to win a kiss from Welch by dancing the wildest in a impromptu dance competition.
The show is ultimately crafted and commandeered by Welch herself, with her stage presence an excitable gleefully girlish whilst seductively commanding. At one moment she’s flinging herself across stage and ping-ponging back. The next casting dramatic Kate Bush interpretive poses with arms extended and back arched All while never missing a note. Her delight is tangible and thus creates a show built to fill stadiums and thrill the fans inside them.