How Big. How Blue. How Beautiful.
Florence + the Machine made a triumphant return to Montréal last night, just shy of a year since playing for the 514 masses at last years’ Osheaga Festival. A set which was, in my opinion, the best show of the whole weekend.
My third time seeing the mega-force on stage, but this was my first behind closed venue doors.
For Florence Welch(27), last night’s show was her first-time headlining an arena in Montréal. A treat for both Florence and fans alike, without the skewed energy of the heavily saturated line-ups that come with the festival experience.
How Big; indeed. Vast inside, with a sea of 10,700 people, the Bell Centre was made a home to Florence and crew for the stop on her How Beautiful Tour. A point made clear by simply looking at Welch’s face as she reacted to the overwhelming feeling of high energy with sheer love and appreciation for the English songstress.
“This is the loudest it’s ever been!.. I don’t know what to say.” Florence crooned to the crowd with total honesty and slight vulnerability.
Matched and taken to a higher level, the energy displayed by Florence’s devout fans was delivered back from Welch herself. Right from the first touch of her bare foot to the stage, the display of endurance from the singer was tireless. Like a shining light, the powerful energy behind the singer captivated the crowd as she twirled and frolicked around the stage like some sort of graceful animal. Effortlessly light on her feet, you could see the uplifting presence Florence herself takes away from her own music.
An uplifting presence she takes, but wanted to give back at the same time. Proclaiming to the crowd to raise up that or whom of which you love. Encouraging those on the floor to raise another on their shoulders. In no time at all, clear figures started to rise above the jam packed floor as the group dove into their earlier cut Rabbit Heart(Raise Me Up).
A well titled song for the group, Florence seemed to play off the Rabbit Heart as she darted alongside the length of the arena and hopped up on a pedestal to greet and take in the crowd from the back of the arena. A surreal moment as the house lights came up at the back allowing for everyone to see and be seen. This was undoubtedly a highlight of the evening for many, Welch included.
When you watch Florence and the Machine on stage, there is something magical that happens. Almost as if she has an out of this world power to command those around her. A swell of screams would take over the arena from each isolated section that followed the tip of her finger. Like a witch would wave a wand, this energy followed each end of the venue, not too different from the way you’d see sports fans participate in “the wave” at a big game.
Florence Welch is a vocal powerhouse. A fact that needs no proving. Her notes were on point, the harmonies with background were stunning, but there is no surprise here. Welch has a signature vibrato in her voice. It is powerful, it is huge, and it is incredible to take in live. More than one would expect when listening to the singer’s recordings.
Vocally , there wasn’t really anything I’d speak negatively on. When Florence really threw muscles behind it, she brought herself to a whole other level. Sitting at the top of vocalists today, not able to be touched by the vast majority of artists around. A few times in the 1.5 hour set, the volume and power behind her voice felt as though it was expanding, trying to burst through to contained environments closed doors. Done with a complete out-pour of love to the rest of Montréal.
A definite contrast to the prior performances I had seen, which all happened outdoors. It brought the sound to a new level for me. I was taken back, laced with goosebumps from this display. Though I can’t help but feel, as impressive as this was, the sound was that much sweeter when you felt it coming through the earth rather than echoing off the concrete surroundings.
For this reason, I still prefer Florence + the Machine how I believe she was meant to be heard, under the stars. Til next time, no matter the place, keep spreading the love that Florence Welch, her Machine and crew brought to us this year.
Special thanks to evenko for having BandMark in the house!