It’s been nearly three years since Florence + the Machine embarked on a full UK tour and nine whole months since their last UK show, so it’s no surprise that fans were frantic when a couple of weeks ago, the Queen of Peace herself announced three intimate UK gigs at Halifax Victoria Theatre, Scunthorpe Baths Hall and London’s Royal Festival Hall. The band made their welcome return in April of this year with the sting-laden ballad ‘Sky Full of Song’; their first track since the 2015 album ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’. ‘Sky Full of Song’ was released exclusively for Record Store 2018 and followed by the catchy ‘Hunger’, released just a few days before the first date of the short tour.
With a capacity of just 2000, Halifax Victoria Theatre is an incredibly surreal and beautiful venue and the band made their entrance to the sounds of rapturous applause from the crowd, with Florence Welch wearing a beautiful floral dress that spent a lot of time flying behind her as she skipped barefooted from one side of the stage to the other from the very first track; ‘Between Two Lungs’. It wasn’t just Florence who was full of energy and by the chorus of ‘Queen of Peace’, she had people in the circle seats up dancing.
The first new track of the evening was the rousing ‘Hunger’, accompanied by Florence’s charismatic explanation that it began life as a poem. Though it’s a track that was only introduced to fans digitally a few days prior, they threw themselves into it, matching the energy and passion that Florence put into each and every track. Other new tracks included the live debut of emotive ‘Sky Full of Song’, ‘100 Years’ and ‘Patricia’; a lyrical love letter to her hero Patti Smith.
Though they have many had three number ones and have many hits under their belts, the set list wasn’t predictable and alongside the new tracks and hits such as ‘Dog Days Are Over’ and ‘Ship to Wreck’, lay stunning renditions of ‘Delilah’ and the first live performance of ‘Falling’ since 2009; inclusive of a restart due to Florence stopping and admitting to the smiling crowd that she’d sang the incorrect words. She’s a lovable character and when she wasn’t running around the stage, dancing or effortlessly spinning in circles with her hair flowing behind her, she was expressing her gratitude to the crowd in her softly spoken voice and visiting the front row to deliver handshakes and hugs, which was incredibly humbling to see.
With their new album ‘High As Hope’ due for release on 29th June 2018 and a couple of dates on the festival circuit over the Summer, it surely won’t be long before Florence + the Machine are back on tour and I assure you now that their gigs are not to be missed!
The set-list from the evening was …
Between Two Lungs
Queen of Peace
Only If for a Night
Sky Full of Song
Dog Days Are Over
Ship to Wreck
What Kind of Man
Shake It Out