Live Review

Florence And The Machine @ BEC

Four years ago, at night time a magick spell descended on the Brisbane River Stage and held court. Eddie Remayne (Newt Scamander) from the Potter franchise (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) has an undisclosed blood sister. Her name is Florence Welch. She fronts an earthly circle of muses called Florence and the Machine. She is a divine goddess.

On Friday 17th March 2023 Florence And The Machine again appeared, this time at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and the whole world stood still. Treading the boards since 2007 many things have changed for FATM. They have toured extensively, sold lots of record and made many new friends.

Isabella 'Machine' Summers is still on board (on keyboards) as are most of the original band members. As the band came onstage you could feel the crowd’s emotions rise and a lot of love in the room. Florence opened with Heaven is here, King and Ship to wreck and had the audience eating out of her hand. She apologised for “self-medicating” for the last two years. She has high anxiety levels and is highly emotional and that emotional output for the two hours and eight minutes was palpable. It is just not possible to fake this level of emotion and empathy. Coldplay may fake it for five minutes, but that’s it. Florence Welch and her muses hang on to existing fans and keep making new ones as they connect with their audience in such a unique way, evoking a wide array of feelings.

Daffodil, Dog Days Are Over (to massive crowd response), Girls Against God, Dream Girl Evil, Prayer Factory, Big God, What Kind Of Man – the gems kept rolling out. Florence walked out into the crowd ten or eleven times. In messiah mode she walks across the upstretched hands of the audience with total trust from all parties as if she has been doing this all her life. This is her answer to the magick powers of Max Cavalera who got over seven-hundred people in a massive circle pit at a Soundwave Festival when he fronted his project band Killer Be Killed – these things are hard to measure but I'd say ... equally as impressive).

Florence said that her lyrics related to Renaissance artists: "We're dealing with all of the same things they did—love and death, time and pain, heaven and hell.” You could feel that sort of cathartic outpouring in the room -people everywhere dancing- so many people singing along to all the songs and hanging on Florence’s every word. I'm happy to admit I cried for about an hour: it’s just the impact FATM have on you. Looking around I wasn’t alone. You could spend eleven million dollars trying to recreate her and it's not possible.

After more magic it seems that the night will last forever and after another dive into the crowd Florence wished us all goodnight. She must have thanked the crowd one-hundred times. Strangely she didn’t introduce the whole band. At times she was caught up in the emotional rush and can be forgiven for this. The band came back for a three-song encore – Never Let Me Go, Shake It Out and Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) .You could feel the spellbinding quality in the air as we floated out the door.

Florence and her compadres only appear once in each lifetime. Treasure them while they are with us. Go see them every chance you get. She is a divine goddess.

- Donald Gunn.


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