Florence and the Machine was opening her How Big tour Wednesday night at the Belfast Odyssey – just the perfect place to start her How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful Odyssey journey!
To make it short, her new album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful gets more exquisite from one track to the next. It’s an emotional odyssey: a journey through Florence’s version of the Divine Comedy. She started to record it after a vicious nervous breakdown, at a time when she was very vulnerable and you can hear and feel it as it’s a much more personal album than the previous two. She said herself that this album was about “trying to learn how to live, and how to love in the world rather than trying to escape from it”. It’s hard to believe that when you see her so full of life, of joy and of love on stage…
There are no words to say how amazed I was of her show. I’m used to going to quite a lot of gigs, so I’m not easily impressed by a performance (even though I’ve been waiting to see her for like 7 years now!), but she was simply incredible.
But first things first:
8pm – the Odyssey is jam-packed with literally all kind of people – male, female, young, old, you name it. The Staves plays the supporting act and I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of them before despite the fact that they are apparently quite well-known! They look like Haim and sound like Au Revoir Simone meets First Aid Kit – what’s not to like?! They are really good indeed and are a great choice to open Florence’s show in my opinion.
9pm – Florence arrives on stage with bells on accompanied with her huge band of musicians including a harpist (JOY!) and several trumpet players! She is visibly so happy to be here, it’s contagious! She’s obviously having so much fun, goofing around with the crowd, running up and down the stage, dancing enthusiastically and jumping down from the stage to sing amongst the public! She’s enjoying it, and so do we!
Between the flawlessly and beautifully sang tunes (I still have goosebumps thinking about it), she keeps on saying how happy she is to be opening her tour here, how nervous they all were and how welcomed they all feel! Woop woop, Belfast you rock!
Florence is literally so cute! When she sings it feels like she’s the strongest most confident woman on the planet, but when she talks she’s all shy and nervous, sounding curiously like Luna Lovegood (in a cute way, not an awkward way)! You can only adore her! She made us laugh a lot, especially when she claims “Nudity is encouraged but not essential” after being thrown a t-shirt and a bra on stage! She then takes her vest off, waves it high above her head while singing followed by nearly everyone in the audience! Priceless!
I don’t often get sentimental (that’s a lie), but I nearly cried out of beautifulness on Cosmic Love, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, St. Jude and when she left the stage! Best booty shakes on Spectrum and Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)!
Good mix of the three albums, even though she obviously played more of her new album. The only disappointment for me was that she didn’t play my all-time favourite Breaking Down.
Conclusion: if I could become someone else, I’d choose to be Florence Welch (or J.K. Rowling, I’m not 100% sure), so talented, natural and effortlessly cool! Thank you Florence for this prodigious evening!