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FLORENCE AT VIVID FESTIVAL
Florence Welch appeared on the stage of the Sydney Opera House on the 25th of May to rapturous applause. Vibrant red hair flowed just below her shoulders and brushed against the top of a long white gown. The vintage dress had flowers adorning the lace layer that and a pair of simple white heels added a few inches to her height. To the crowd she was a gifted angel that sent her voice en route to their hearts with its lilted tone that would have lit up the darkest venue.
The Sydney Opera House performance sees a unique set-up for Florence Welch, with ‘the machine’ being comprised of an orchestra of strings, brass, piano and a harpist who’ve been rooted out of their London homes to perform at this iconic location. The stage was also home 12 backing singers whose voices twisted into a surreal echo of Florence’s as they intertwined in unique reworking’s of well-known Florence & the Machine hits commencing with ‘You’ve Got the Love’. The subdued soulful version of the song set the tone for the first half of the night reinforced by Florence referring to the Opera House as very “proper”. Florence narrated the concert with stories of writing lyrics, with most of her tales referencing alcohol intake and hangovers. The crowd hung on every word, chattering and murmuring only when she stepped off the stage to speak to the “sound man”.
The majority of the night was dedicated to Florence & the Machine’s latest album Ceremonials, however there was some reminiscing allowed with the inclusion of songs from their debut album such as a reserved, emotive reworking of Rabbit Heart.
The amazingly written orchestral versions of songs such as ‘Lungs’ and ‘Dog Days are Over’ stunned the audience and picked up the mood with a fast clap developing as Florence’s voice reverberated around the room. The harpist and pianist added a delicate feel to the songs whilst trumpets gave certain songs a majestic boost of energy and movement. At Florence’s suggestion the entire crowd stood and clapped, almost in sync, for an entire song before disappearing off the stage. Screaming, thunderous applause and foot stomping brought her back within minutes to sing the fabulous ‘Never Let Me Go’. The announcement that the next song would be the final for the night was met with upset sighs but after the brilliance of the concert, no one left disappointed. A magical rendition of ‘Shake it Out’ concluded the night and Florence paraded off stage to a standing ovation.
Florence’s performance was part of Sydney’s Vivid festival that has taken over Circular Quay with spectacular lights, music and ideas.
By Maya Rose