words by Jess Sommerfeld // photos by Sarah Rix (@sarahrix)
“… this is what going to see live music should be about.”
As the sky turned a magical pastel pink and the sun went away for the day, Florence and the Machine at Sidney Myer Music Bowl last Friday, captured an array of Glorious, echoing melodies that flowed through the air and up the hill, clearly travelling through the each body in the crowd.
Florence Welch is a beacon of absolute light and I believe this light radiates into the actual soul of those witnessing this beautiful act which I know, seems so intense and as I write this I think ‘settle Jess’, but Florence’s presence is out of this world.
As she twists and dances all the way through the seated area of the venue, every single person there I’m sure was waiting and hoping that they may get Florence in their face, belting out ‘Delilah’. My notes during this song were “omg dead” clearly meaning, it was so amazing that I was lost for words or had fallen unconscious from the copious amount of joy and life that filled the entire atmosphere of the venue.
Her vocals are undoubtedly some of the most powerful and iconic of her/all time and while her voice and presence is the focal point, the bands has this ability to ensure their instruments aren’t lost underneath Florence’s huge voice. Each musician’s sound on stage meshes so well with the incredible vocals of Florence and this speaks volumes about the synchrony between each person on the stage.
This set was a culmination of tracks off Florence’s very first album, Lungs which was released 10 years ago and a beautifully curated mix of tracks from her latest album ‘High as Hope’ (hence the tour name), ‘How big, How beautiful and ‘Ceremonials’ and as Florence mentions, the tracks of her first album ‘Lungs’ are the same as the new ones, just ‘Lungs’ was far shoutier and drunker.
Before almost each song, Florence would share a story about where she may have been at the time (physically/mentally) or how the song creation came about and while you can read the story behind a song, hearing her speak and express such emotion about certain tracks such as Patricia (about Patti Smith) and South London Forever (describing a messy time in life 3 years ago) where she went onto to share “I don’t know how things are for you here but as an anxious and a worried person my heart is hurting as many of yours are but please do not give up hope”. For me, this is what going to see live music should be about and it’s this sort of thing that reignites a certain kind of humanity amongst the punters (until the show ends lol, then it’s survival of the fittest).
Florence Welch is quite literally magical and she casts this glorious spell over each person that has the pleasure of embracing her gracious and radiant joy that she shares in her performance. Even if you’re not a fan of her, I am sure if you were at her show, in the first few rows - your mind would backflip and a totally different viewpoint would be taken on because put simply, she is incredible.