Florence + The Machine @ Palais Theatre, 22 July 2015

The charm, talent and bedazzlement that is Florence + The Machine is a truly wonderful thing. According to a press release, 40,000 entries were received in the ballot for Flo’s two sideshows; so it was pretty stellar to secure tickets at the just-under-3k capacity Palais Theatre.

This show was genuinely stunning. And while I’m happy to hold it in the tops of the year, the people down the row seemed to think it was the single greatest moment of their entire existence. Chock full of highlights, Flo’s voice took the roof off (quite an effort – it’s quite far up) and along with her dance, banter and all round presence had everyone in awe.

Among the set list, ‘What Kind of Man’ pumped enormous guitar while blinding everyone with heavy lighting, the superb ‘Shake It Off’ mixed elements of acapella and crowd choir, a poignant thrust of dance shapes within a huge vertical spotlight ended ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ and ‘Dog Days Are Over’ provided a gigantic finish with the theatre jumping up and down as one.

Adding to the fun of it all, the set was far from orchestrated. Someone wanted to hear ‘My Boy Builds Coffins’ so Flo pulled it out, forgot the lyrics and turned it into something as humorous as it was impressive. Another girl wanted a hug, so she was invited up on stage for just that. Even severe feedback was treated as creative opportunity – labelled as the new song titled only by the emoji face “that goes like this <Flo pulls face>.”

Florence + The Machine have pretty much been serious headliner material from the outset, but shows like this demonstrate that a band can be truly spectacular, as playful as they want and continue to grow beyond what you didn’t think was possible.

Set list:

What the Water Gave Me
Ship to Wreck
Shake It Out
Cosmic Love
Long & Lost
Sweet Nothing
Only If for a Night
My Boy Builds Coffins
How Big How Blue How Beautiful
Queen of Peace
What Kind of Man
Drumming Song
You’ve Got the Love
Dog Days Are Over
St Jude


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