Florence and the Machine
with the Maccabees
BB&T Center, Sunrise
September 26, 2012
Better than: Casting spells in a graveyard.
"Turn to everyone around you. Kiss them. Hug them. Shake their hands. Get to know them. Make friends. Now you don't have to be shy with them," Florence Welch said halfway through Wednesday night's electrifying performance. Like the good musical devotees that they were, the fans at the packed BB&T Center followed their queen's directions, embracing fellow crowd members as the fiery songstress belted out some of her most powerful hits.
- Slideshow: Florence and the Machine at BB&T Center
- Calvin Harris' "Sweet Nothing" Video Featuring Florence Welch
The stage went dark, illuminated only by a crystalline structure at
the back of the stage. A feminine silhouette appeared against the glass. And the audience screamed as though the apocalypse were upon us.
in a red and black floral dress that clung to her body like a mermaid's
tail, the barefoot songstress made her way down the steps toward the
front of the stage, where she was greeted by adoring fans. Flowery crowns, T-shirts, and glowing balls of color flew onto the stage -- not in a violent manner; they were merely gifts of love from Welch's loyal following. Glowing and smiling, Welch raised her hands above her head, kicking things off with "Only If for a Night." Followed by entrancing renditions of "Drumming Song" and "Cosmic Love," Welch began to unfold her catalog of celebrated ballads.
"Good evening. I'm gonna need you to stand up and get higher. We wanna see people on shoulders. Up. Up. Get higher. One, two, three... I see more. Seven, eight, nine. Higher. Higher."
In this moment, the set took a climatic turn, as Florence flew off the stage like a banshee and onto the arena's floor, running around the outskirts of the general admission barrier while shouting out the lyrics of "Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)." Following this surprising outburst of energy, Welch performed a generous portion of hits from both Lungs and Ceremonials.
Twirling in circles, writhing around onstage, and a dress flowing in the fan-propelled wind may seem like lackluster stage presence in comparison to the dramatics of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. But with the vocal range and stamina that Welch possesses, there is no need for fancy costumes or choreographed dance routines. She has a way of captivating her audience and commanding attention with the simple sound of her voice. And the fact that she maintains such power through a 90-minute set without losing an ounce of steam is nothing short of remarkable.
Albeit predictable, closing the evening's set with "Dog Days Are Over" couldn't have been less perfect. As her band played the song's intro, Welch stood in front of the crystalline backdrop, instructing the audience to join her in the band's nightly ritual.
"I'd like you join in on our nightly ceremony... On the Ceremonials tour. I'm going to count -- one, two, three -- and then you will all hop in the air. But don't stop after that. Just keep hopping."
And as the nearly sold-out arena hopped in unison to one of the singer's greatest hits, we were convinced that just maybe we had experienced the apocalypse.
The crowd: Lots of flowery crowns, braided red hair, and flowing dresses.
Random detail: Someone threw a bra onstage.
Personal bias: Florence Welch and her wardrobe give me a lady boner.
Florence and the Machine's Set List
-"Only if for a Night"
-"Between Two Lungs"
-"Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)"
-"Leave My Body"
-"Shake it Out"
-"No Lights, No Lights"
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-"What the Water Gave Me"
-"Dog Days Are Over"