22 Mar 2023

Review: Florence and the Machine

5:00 pm on 22 March 2023

Certified Florence and the Machine stan, Liam Brown, reports from the Spark Arena.  

Florence and the Machine fans, or what Welch calls her choreomaniacs, filed into Spark Arena for what is set to be Welch's last show of the Dance Fever Tour, and her first show in Aotearoa post-Covid - she last played here at Laneway in 2019.

Fans have adored her since the release of her debut studio album, Lungs, in 2009 and her consistently sold-out shows here are a testament to the dedication of her audience and the connection she has with them.

Floating onto the stage in a pink flowy dress, she opened the show with heavy hitters from two albums; ‘Heaven is Here’ and ‘King’ from her latest Dance Fever, ‘Ship to Wreck’ from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, before circling back to Dance Fever with ‘Free’.

It's one thing to start a show with high energy, it's another to maintain it. Welch does both.

Photo: Chontalle Musson

She jokes with the crowd that some punters may be plus ones when she says; "To anyone who may have just been brought along… and you're wondering… what the f**k is this? Is this a cult? Am I safe?"

During ‘Dog Days Are Over’, she tells the crowd to put their phones away; this was not the kind of concert that needed video documentation, said Welch.

Dance Fever celebrates dancing in crowds of people in sold out arenas, an experience she was itching to get back to and she speaks of album and tour as being the "the resurrection of dance," - she couldn't be more right.

Never afraid of crowd interaction, the singer got up close and personal with fans in the front row during ‘Dream Girl’ ‘Evil’, ‘Prayer Factory’ and ‘Big God’, before sprinting through the crowd during ‘Choreomania’, all the way up to the sound booth (trailed by her security guard who I'm positive never skips cardio days at the gym).

‘Never Let Me Go’, a song Welch swore she'd never perform again almost a decade ago, was the highlight of the night for me. For many their favourite song, Welch says, with fans even going as far as to get it tattooed on their bodies.

She leaves the stage holding onto the energy she picked up from the crowd during the almost two-and-a-half hour long set, and I'd hope she keeps it close to her until we meet again.

See Liam's full review here

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