Florence + The Machine Conquers The Walt Disney Concert Hall In Los Angeles
Ornate, intimate and somehow cathedral-like, The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles was made for Florence + The Machine. From the sublime acoustics to the renowned 6,134-pipe organ, the Frank Gehry-designed building not only amplified the band’s sound, but also their frontwoman’s ethereal aesthetic. Twirling around the flower-strewn stage barefoot with her flame-colored mane flying, Florence Welch was at her absolute best in an exquisite set that showcased discography highlights as well as a smattering of new songs.
Supported by an 8-piece band including a harpist, the 31-year-old began the show with “Between Two Lungs.” If attendees thought they were in for a quiet evening, they were soon corrected when Florence commanded the audience to get on their feet and dance. The Brit then twirled her way through “Queen Of Peace” and “Only If For A Night,” covering the stage with pirouettes as she howled like an otherworldly goddess. It fell somewhere rock concert and cultural event, which is a rare achievement.
Next up was a pair of songs from the band’s 4th LP, High As Hope (due June 29). Florence introduced “Hunger,” a deeply honest single that covers eating disorders, loneliness and addiction, by describing it as a song she was scared to write and thanked fans for making it a transformative experience for her. The singer then belted out pretty ballad “Sky Full Of Song.” They were followed by a classic, “Dog Days Are Over.” Florence made the most of the glamorous surrounds by channeling her inner conductor. Only instead of an orchestra, she commanded the audience to participate with jumps, waves and claps.
The hitmaker then delved into a couple of deep cuts. She performed the haunting “Mother” from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and “Falling,” a bonus track from Lungs, as well as new songs “Patricia” and “100 Years.” The former is a stunning tribute to Patti Smith with a soaring chorus and majestic outro, while the latter is a song about the power of love. Florence revealed that she was initially embarrassed by the earnest content, but then realized this is exactly the time for such gestures.
Florence wound up the show with a trio of songs from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. “Ship To Wreck,” “Delilah” and “What Kind Of Man” got fans on their feet as the unlikely rock star delivered vocal runs and impromptu choreography. It was a bravura display that earned a standing ovation that continued until she dutifully returned to belt out “Shake It Off” — accompanied by the aforementioned 6,134-pipe organ, no less — for the encore. It was a snapshot of an important artist at the prime of her powers and a mouth-watering teaser of the band’s new album.