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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 30, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 44
Florence + the Machine on the path to iconic status
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Florence + the Machine on the path to iconic status

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
KEY ARENA
October 28

Seeing Florence + the Machine and Madonna play arenas within ten days of each other (at Key Arena and Moda Center, respectively) connected previously unseen parallels in my mind. Generating both intimacy and real excitement in an arena takes a unique blend of showmanship and charisma. The two women couldn't be more different - and there's a gap of 27 years between them - but despite wildly different approaches, both women possess the sheer star power to hold an entire arena rapt with attention and on their feet song after song.

Florence Welch was chic and bewitching at Key Arena Tuesday night, appearing with an 11-piece band complete with horn section, sharply suited backup singers, and naturally, a harp. Flo's beige silk shirt with flutter sleeves topped with a fitted white silk vest and matching high-waisted trousers lent her a '70s Christine McVie sort of vibe. As always, she wore no shoes; all the better to sprint from stage right to stage left and all the way to the back of the arena where she had only minimal help from one of her crew in stepping lightly along the handrails of the lower level seats. Propelled by an undeniable energy and passion for creating music, it's no wonder she was able to balance as if walking on air.

The set was tight and unfussy, as was the creative direction - video screens on either side of the stage flashed close-up footage of Flo's facial expressions, boho-dance moves, and metalesque high kicks. Borrowing a trick from the Freddie Mercury/Mick Jagger school of stage presence, Flo's white outfit made her visible even from the cheap seats. Paired with soaring vocals, Flo was ethereal and glamorous against a simple shimmering background. She worked the room effortlessly from the opening suite of 'What the Water Gave Me,' 'Ship to Wreck,' and 'Shake It Out.' New material from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful ('Third Eye,' 'Delilah,' and the title track) captivated the crowd as much as previous hits 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), 'Spectrum,' and 'Dog Days Are Over,' which finished the set before a brief but impactful encore of 'What Kind of Man' and 'Drumming Song.' Many fans were visibly having Flo-inspired artist epiphanies all over the arena, even going so far as to embrace any stranger next to them at Flo's request and obeying the call to just let go (metaphorically and physically), waving jackets or other articles of clothing in the air. When a performer inspires this kind of devotional zeal it generally means they're fast on the path to icon status; Florence Welch is already one (bare) foot on her way.

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