Florence And The Machine at 3Arena – Review & Photos
On the second night of her ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ tour, Florence Welch and her Machine confidently stride out on to stage. Fresh from her performance in Stradbally at Electric Picnic last week, there’s a secret smile that slowly surfaces on her face. Breaking into a rendition of ‘What the Water Gave Me’ from her second album, Ceremonials, the audience immediately begins to sway and jump. The repressed disappointment of not being able to attain a ticket for Electric Picnic this year emerges and immediately disperses as Florence’s sonorous vocals fill the 3 Arena. Her performances are always wonderfully true to her albums. The range of her voice and her sheer ability to hold a note is astounding.
Looking out into the crowd with an unmistakable sense of pride, Florence admits that Dublin was her final show on her Ceremonials tour. There’s a certain honesty to how she speaks to the audience; she seems to genuinely love touring, and speaks with a childlike excitement when she recounts the details of that show, recalling how all her fans were requested to arrive in fancy dress, and true to the form of her Irish fans, they didn’t let her down. What’s always interesting is the contrast between her speaking voice, a fragile and shy sound, while her singing voice is, well, it’s powerful, it’s uplifting, it’s magic.
Despite being on their third album tour, Florence and the Machine maintain a prevalent air of enthusiasm. When the crowd drown her out on her cover of ‘You’ve Got the Love’ and ‘Cosmic Love’, she looks in awe, mouth agape from the crowd, to her band, and back to the crowd. Perhaps it hasn’t registered with them just yet that they are one of the most in-demand acts at the moment, and with performances like this how could they not be?
Her track list has some range, touching upon some of the biggest crowd pleasers from all three albums. Yet, the one that seems to shine through in terms of crowd excitement is ‘Rabbit Heart’, encouraging the fans to ‘jump as high as you can’, the staff of the 3 Arena having a hard time trying to manage a crowd that pulse and move like it’s being shocked. There’s an electricity in the air and Florence feeds on it, running down into the crowd, back and forth, back and forth like a flame-haired pendulum, being hard to keep track of her in a sea of waving arms. When it comes to ‘Spectrum’ she sways like a flower caught in a breeze, there’s an elegance to how she dances and spins, and the crowd love it.
Her encore of ‘What Kind of Man’ and ‘Drumming Song’ is filled with unmistakable determination. There’s a roar to her voice that perfectly contrasts against her willowy physique and ethereal presence, her whole person becomes absorbed in the song, it shakes and throbs with the beat of the music. The entire balcony of the arena begins to shake as everyone moves to their feet; the crowd waited over five minutes for an encore, they’re not going to simply sit and watch.
Overall, it was a beautiful and enticing performance. Florence clearly wasn’t suffering from the week-long hangover that many Electric Picnic goers seem to be suffering. Her whole set is energy. Arguably, it could have benefitted from a few more tracks from ‘Between Two Lungs’ but if the crowd had heard ‘Kiss With a Fist’, they may have actually brought the place to the ground from excitement.
Words by Elaine McDonald
Photos by Tudor Marian