From the start to the very end, Florence + The Machine illuminated Rogers Arena on Sunday night to a crowd that was kept on their dancing feet.
As part of her latest arena tour, Florence + The Machine returned to Vancouver with Welch’s third studio album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. And, from the moment Welch hit the stage, her rockstar charisma made you forget anything outside the arena walls.
Opening with What the Water Gave Me, from her 2011 album Ceremonials, Welsh displayed an overpowering voice that filled the arena. Adorned in a ’70s style one-piece white jumpsuit, her red hair loose, the barefoot Welsh ran back and forth on stage to greet her eager fans. During her second track of the evening, Ship to Wreck, she continued to wow fans with her uninhibited dance moves – moves that continued throughout the entire 90-minute show.
As a performer, Welch certainly knows how to engage her audience. At one point she acted like an orchestra conductor, guiding the crowd in a mass singalong of her smash hit Shake it Off. At another, a still barefoot Welch ran off the stage and across the entire floor to the other side of the arena, where fans rushed from their seats to snap close-up shots of the smiling singer. She was cheered on as she ran back to the stage, right through her fans seated in the floor area.
It’s hard not to look at the mesmerizing Welch as she performs. Prior to Third Eye, she asked everyone to put their phones away. “This song is for us to remember with our eyes, and with each other,” she said. Sunday night was also the first time Welch performed the title track off her latest album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, alongside two stripped and raw versions of Cosmic Love, and Calvin Harris’ Sweet Nothing.
Arguably her most popular song, Dog Days are Over, had the entire arena clapping and dancing. Welch encouraged everyone to embrace the person next to them (thanks to my fellow writer next to me for the hug), and asked the crowd to take off a layer and wave it in the air. Soon, scarves, sweaters, and even t-shirts were being waved, as many male fans enjoyed the rest of the performance shirtless. For her encore, Welch returned to an arena lit up by smartphone flashlights (and maybe one or two lighters), and performed her single What Kind of Man. Closing with Drumming Song, it was clear that Welch and her bold, emotional voice was a live performer of a different calibre.
From singing in the crowd, to the stripped down renditions of tracks and her striking dance moves; Florence + The Machine is the reason concerts exist. Welch is indie pop perfection, and on Sunday night, she ran her way across Rogers Arena and straight into our hearts.