Florence and the Machine
with Leon Bridges and Marlon Williams
It was a sweltering evening in the Adelaide Botanic Park for the first full tour of Florence and the Machine to Australian shores. This was my first show at this parkland venue, and the setup was excellent, with plenty of bars, food options, and toilets (always a concern at temporary venues!) to cover the masses that had gathered. The feeling was very family friendly, and not even a few spots of rain deterred the absolute throng of fans that packed into the parkland early to catch openers Marlon Williams and Leon Bridges (who replaced Billie Eilish). Marlon Williams opened the show with a cool and breezy blend of bluegrass and blues to chill the crowd while they sweltered. Leon Bridges had the lovers up on their feet with his mix of soul and funk, that peaked with his hit Coming Home and the sweet River.
But the crowd was really laying in wait for the sylph herself, Miss Florence and her mighty Machine on her Higher than Hope tour.
Unless you’re experienced Florence live, it’s almost impossible to believe that such a powerful voice comes from someone so obviously introverted and softly spoken. Her interactions with the audience highlighted a duality that exists within all of us – the public face we present, that does not always accurately represent the rage that lies within us, and the power that we are all capable of when we speak up. Floating like a petal with the voice of a Valkyrie, Florence spins and wails and implores us to allow ourselves to be genuine and kinder to one another.
Her interactions with the audience, running through the crowds in her wispy dress and standing on barriers to sing directly to the face of those who had come to see her, showed that she was mutual revelling in the positive vibe of the event. As a punter, it’s always fabulous to see the performer genuinely having the time of their lives. The crowd choir was loudest with recent hit Hunger, and classic Dog Days, but every song had special moments with moist eyes on many. The Machine were in sweet form in all corners.
Even without some of the crowd favourites in the set list, it was impossible to walk away feeling anything other than inspired and joyful. What an experience.
Review by Sarah List
Photo by Kerrie Grier