How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence and the Machine storms the Emerald Isle with the opening of their third studio album tour.

Our beloved Flo has done it again folks! Straight on the heels of her highly anticipated Electric Picnic performance, we’ve been gifted with the opening shows of her new tour in Belfast and Dublin. I was lucky enough to attend the concert in 3Arena, and believe me when I say it was the most spiritualistic experience of my life. The night was an emotional journey as Florence Welch, the band’s leading lady, drew from a myriad of songs across their three studio albums. From the moment she emerged below the stage and ascended the steps in her white satin trousers and waist coat, the drama began to unfold and she drew us with her into the turmoil and depth of her own experiences.

Opening with the ever-powerful What The Water Gave Me, Welch had immediately entranced the audience as she danced, skipped and twirled across the stage. Every movement was full of drama and passion, two things present throughout the entire show. After sufficiently dazzling us all, it was somewhat amusing to hear the strong and soulful singing voice greet us with a simple, airy “Hi”. Inviting us to be her choir for the night, she was a tantalising mix of confidence and timidness. At one point, glorifying in the many pairs of underwear thrown on stage, at another, sharing the journey the title song of the current album had made with her before this point. Throughout it all, there was no question if her own immersion in each and every song as she gave one hundred and ten percent.

It’s been a tough time for Florence in her year off, but her new revival and fighting spirit are reflected in many of the new tracks she performed. My personal favourite would have to be Delilah and the recurring line of “I’m gonna be free and I’m gonna be fine”. It just embodies a sense of liberation and reflects the strong will and personal growth I think she developed over the writing period of this new album. The departure from themes of death and water and the move towards less fantastical themes is obvious, but old favourites such as Cosmic Love and Spectrum still made an appearance to a roaring crowd. Despite her producer’s protests, Welch did manage to sneak in one reference to water though, with single Ship To Wreck, and I have to say I’m glad she did. It was most definitely a highlight of the night, second only to the time she asked us all to take off a piece of clothing and jump with it in the air for Dog Days Are Over.

Closing out her encore with the percussion-heavy Drumming Song, Florence departed the stage for a well-deserved break after having not stayed stationary for more than thirty seconds at any point during her set. She also carried her requested gift of a pair of trousers to complete her underwear collection, looking far happier than anyone legitimately should while holding some heavily sweat-soaked denim. But you know, to each their own. Who knows, if you drop by any of her upcoming UK gigs, you might even see her sporting them herself?

Ellie Lawlor

Ellie Lawlor

New to QR this year, Ellie is our little southern hint in the committee, outgoing from the outset, expect to find Ellie at the bar. Or writing pieces with really long sentences... If you manage to get a word in edge-ways please let us know.
Ellie Lawlor

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