September 19th, 2012
It appears Mother Nature is a big Florence + The Machine fan. While opening acts The Weeknd and The Maccabrees played through torrential downpours and tropical storm-like winds, the skies quickly cleared as Flo prepared to take the stage last night.
The moment she appeared on stage and the first note left her extraordinary lungs, chills shot down my spine. If a tornado ripped through the amphitheater right then and there, I wouldn’t have even flinched.
Donning her usual ethereal attire, Flo spent the next hour prancing around stage like a magical fairy who just sniffed a whole lotta pixie dust. Unlike her last local concert at the Festival Pier in June 2011, this time, she came equipped with back-up singers and a harpist. She also engaged quite a bit more with the audience, or at least she attempted to. Given the intensity of her vocals, you really cannot believe how soft spoken the beautiful Brit actually is.
Fortunately, I was able to make out a few of the various commands she quietly barked at the audience between songs. First, she asked us to put the person we came with on our shoulders, then later we had to hug the person next to us. At one point, she may or may not have ordered us to get wasted after the show.
Not surprising, Flo and her Machine opened the show with “Ceremonials” and closed with “Dog Days Are Over.” More surprising, however, were the mix of other songs. Most noticeably absent from her set: “All This And Heaven Too,” “Bedroom Hymns,” “You’ve Got The Love” and “Kiss With A Fist.” The most memorable songs from her set: “Heartlines” and “Say My Name.”
As for the highlight of the evening, well, that would have to be when Ms. Welch suddenly leaped off the stage mid-song and proceeded to go for a mad dash around the amphitheater. Her bodyguard, who immediately went chasing after her, looked like he was about to crap his pants.
And although ultimately, it had no bearing on the quality of last night’s concert, I feel it needs to be said that at the Susquehanna Bank Center, unless you have pit tickets, you can’t see a damn thing taking place on stage. And the two large, inexplicably non high-def TV screens do little to help. I can only pray that the next time Flo comes to town, she opts for a more intimate venue.
Anyway, should you be wondering what Florence sounds like live, I leave you with this video I took last night of her belting “Lover To Lover.”
Warning: It might make your head explode. (Nicole Finkbiner)