Music has always been an important part of my life, working in a Recording Studio in the best city in the world, Manchester is very exciting as not one day is the same. There’s nothing that I enjoy more than going to see my favourite band and being part of the crowd, knowing that everyone is there for the same reason and having thousands of people singing the lyrics to songs we all have different memories for. Over the past week I’ve seen Florence + the Machine twice on their How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful tour, last night at the Manchester Arena was the fifth time I’d seen the band live. After a long wait for the band's third album, there was high expectations that this tour was going to be massive. The newest album combines the excitement of the debut album, Lungs and the emotions of the second album, Ceremonials. It was undoubtable that the dates on this tour we’re going to consist of a roller-coaster of emotions, but the shows I attended lived up to and went beyond expectations.
I attended the shows in Sheffield and Manchester. For the Sheffield show I arrived at the arena earlier than doors opening times, in hope to get a spot at the front. I got right to the front, but what was even better was Florence coming out to say hello to the fans that had arrived early, just to add up to the excitement for the show. Manchester was a lot more relaxed, and getting involved in the crowd was a lot of fun! Support for the whole tour has been provided by The Staves, three sisters from Watford, who mesmerised the crowd with their harmonising. It was easy to enjoy seeing this band live even though I’d never heard any of their songs before, Florence never disappoints when it comes to choosing support bands, and I’ll definitely be listening to a lot more of The Staves from now.
Florence managed to captivate the crowd from the second she walks on stage starting with “What The Water Gave Me” The crowd were singing every single lyric back to her, Florence was overwhelmed by the size of the arenas and how many people had turned up to see the band she started with her best friend 9 years ago “wow it’s so big in here” she says as she looks around, stunned by the flashing cameras and people proclaiming their love for her. She encourages everyone in the crowd to be involved as much as possible asking them to be the choir for the night, and during an exciting performance of Rabbit Heart she encourages everyone to “raise it up” and get their loved ones on their shoulders, while doing this she runs barefooted around the crowd embracing the fans, it’s no wonder she managed to break her foot early on this year at Coachella.
The rest of the band members laugh at Florence while she’s running around picking up people’s flower crowns and home-made banners. She tells stories of writing songs while hungover, and how she thought Cosmic Love would be the last song that she’d write following with a stripped back performance of the song, almost operatic, hitting the high notes perfectly and giving the audience goosebumps. Following with more songs from the new album the band step up the pace and do a performance of Spectrum and Dog Days Are Over, both have Florence running wild around the arena, encouraging fans to remove items of clothing and to express their love for each other.
The band leave on such a peak of the show the audience are left chanting for more. Of course, the band couldn’t leave without saying their goodbyes and come back on stage and finish with What Kind Of Man and Drumming Song, during What Kind Of Man she goes into the audience and serenades someone on the front row. Florence + the Machine make every single member of the crowd feel special, she encourages everyone to throw away their troubles and “Shake It Off”, encouraging nothing but love, happiness and peace and for all the bad thoughts to be forgotten about which isn’t too difficult when there’s such a positive atmosphere, even the songs that usually tug on the heart-strings are given a more positive vibe. Florence + the Machine do not fail to impress, with Florence being so lively and having amazing vocals, and the Machine being so unique, with the harp being a personal favourite addition. I’d encourage everyone to see this band live, I can’t wait to see what’s next for them!