Florence and The Machine began a run of four sold-out gigs at London’s Alexandra Palace last night as the group’s UK tour reaches its end. Read on for everything that happened…
Welch’s 11-piece band took to the stage and set the mood with a dark and eerie piece of music. They were soon joined by their singer, who climbed onto the stage from the floor level and began to sing ‘What The Water Gave Me’. Dressed in silk white trousers with a matching waistcoat and no shoes, she sprinted from one side of the stage to the next as the song reached its dramatic peak.
Welch spent much of the night sprinting around the stage, darting from left to right during ‘Ship To Wreck’ and pirouetting as she and her band performed ‘Third Eye’. “Hello London,” Welch said as she hid her face from the crowd’s applause. “Thank you so much for coming. We had wanted a choir with us tonight but were wondering if you would be our choir.”
If the fans cheers weren’t obvious enough, their involvement in ‘Shake It Out’ and Candi Staton cover ‘You’ve Got The Love’ certainly was. Fans were urged to climb on a partner’s shoulders during ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ with Welch singing the second half of the song while propped up by security on the front row.
Before ‘How Big How Blue How Beautiful’ she explained its inspiration. “It was recorded right here in London. I cycled every day from Kennington to Elephant and Castle. I was writing this song about a big blue sky. It was written at a time when I was in love not just with someone but everyone I met. I took this song around the world with me and then I brought it home to record.”
London also got a shout out before a stripped back version of ‘Cosmic Love’, another early song that Welch said was written after she was told that she “couldn’t just lie on the floor” after a break up. The song was played with the backing of just an acoustic guitar and harp.
Towards the end of the set fans were urged to take off their shirts and whip them above heads during ‘Dog Days Are Over’ while a two-song encore began with ‘What Kind Of Man’. Spotting a male fan on the front row, Welch sang the latter inches from his face, before returning to the stage and ending the set with ‘Drumming Song’.