Florence & The Machine

Celeste Macdonald braved the rain to check out Florence & The Machine’s huge show in Sydney last week:

On Thursday night, Florence & The Machine returned to Sydney on the Ceremonials tour. Needless to say, it was amazing. In such a large space as the Entertainment Centre, I always question whether any act can command the entire audience’s attention for the length of the show. And then the hyperbolic silhouette of Florence Welch appears from behind a mysterious orange curtain to an audience of thousands of screaming teenage girls. If all you had to go on was the high-pitched screaming alone, you would’ve thought you were at a One Direction concert.

Wearing a silken cape, silver beaded shoulder-piece and velvet cut-out tights, coupled with her flaming red hair, as she steps out from behind the curtain singing the opening lyrics to Only If For A Night, Florence Welch looks like some kind of Norse Goddess of War.

Playing a nice mix of new and old, Florence & The Machine are skilled in giving the crowd exactly what they want. Playing all the hits with the same energy as if they were just released, reading through fan letters (which involved actually spotting one eager fan from an audience of thousands and personally thanking them for their gift of gin) and encouraging the crowd to join in at every step is probably what makes their live shows so appealing to the masses.

Mid way through, Florence urges as many audience members as possible to climb on to each others’ shoulders. As one by one they hop up, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) fittingly begins. Several times during the show, the theme of the Ceremonials Tour emerges. Florence politely asks the crowd to “Please be upstanding for the hymn.” It gives the show a formal and orchestral quality and showcases Florence’s brilliant vocal talent – leaving this reviewer wishing I was one of the lucky attendees of their Friday night show at the Sydney Opera House.

Review by Celeste Macdonald. iPhone pic by Bobby Townsend