Live: Florence + The Machine

July 20, 2012 at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, B.C.

Situated in the heart of Burnaby, much like Central Park is to New York on a significantly smaller scale, the grey ominous clouds lingered above our heads teasing the ten-something thousand in attendance. Not that an avid crowd like this one would have minded at all, but the rain did indeed hold off (despite this city’s usual weather patterns). After New York’s The Walkmen played to a slightly distracted crowd, 8:30 rolled around and the same mystical piano that opened Ceremonials, began our evening with Florence and the Machine.

As the beautiful UK singer took the stage, a light gust of wind ruffled her turquoise dress as if she were posing for Chanel. Following the opening number, “What The Water Gave Me” clicked in with a bridge full of build up and anticipation, succeeded with an overflow of combusted sound and the shouting of “lay me down!” Next up, an unexpected early entrance from one of my more preferred tracks, “Cosmic Love.” Despite Florence Welch’s condition of dyspraxia, she moves around the stage like a fairy princess, eloquent and engaging. As the magical sounds of the harp faded out with the song, she stood front and centre, humbly basking in the glory.

Saddle up is not often a term used at many shows, unless we’re talking the rodeo, but it was for “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up).” Florence asked all the boys to throw their significant others on their shoulders. To my surprise, she started counting the participants and the number rapidly got out of hand. Crowd participation always plays a large role in making a show more enjoyable and memorable. As an artist, I would imagine you want the multitude to be as loose and carefree as possible. During the latter end of the show, Welch had us hopping up and down to “Dog Days Are Over” like a herd of uncoordinated rabbits.

The crowd erupted when they heard that familiar organ sound fused with the words “regrets collect like old friends.” The double platinum single is a favourable song, but not a favourite. However, there are those songs that sound similar live, others worse, and there are those few that explode in your ear like something you’ve never heard before. “Shake It Out” had that effect. There was something mythical about standing on grass, surrounded by nature with her words piercing the cool night air. Welch capped the song in absolute brilliant fashion by punching the air as if it were the “Next” button on the stereo leading us back to the beginning, “Dog Days Are Over.”

As Florence and company stepped back on the stage, there was time for two more numbers. Many artists in her situation might have saved Dog Days and Shake It Out for the encore (for obvious reasons), but her choices were succinct and well received. The first being “Never Let Me Go,” and the second, and appropriate choice “No Light, No Light.” Despite that subject matter of the song being about the end of the relationship, the light had indeed run out and our evening came to a close. You would be hard-pressed to point out a stale moment in the evening, Florence + The Machine offered a great deal of excitement, depth and interaction.

What do you think of Florence + The Machine live?

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