Words by Nicole Murphy | Photos by Joe Russo
Wantagh – “Bright”, “Alive”, “Vibrant“- just a few compliments flame-haired frontwoman Florence Welch gave to New York as her British indie-rock band made their Long Island debut Saturday night. Florence and the Machine conveyed those same emotions to a near sold out crowd at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater as they set out on the second night of their North American tour, just two months after a vocal scare forced Welch to cancel two gigs earlier this summer.
Where most artists struggle in delivering the same passion and power on stage that is revealed in their recordings, it was clear by the second verse of the set’s opener, ‘Only if for a Night’, that Welch’s vocal control and stage presence is something extraordinary. Sporting a gorgeous flowing gown that resembled something dating back to the Renaissance, Welch glided across the stage as her voice exploded through the crowd.
Welch captured the crowd in a remarkable way throughout ‘What the Water Gave Me’, ‘Drumming Song’ and ‘Cosmic Love’ all in anticipation of the climax that accompanied ‘Raise it Up’.
“This is the part of the show where we demand some human sacrifice”,she said, with sound of drums beating behind her. “Imagine there aren’t any chairs! We want to see as many people on shoulders as possible. You have to be brave. You have to be strong.”
And when her words turned into song, all you could see was a trail of red as Welch spun across the stage and around her fans on the floor.
Welch and her machine entered the encore with ‘Breath of Life’, an exclusive, more intimate piece produced for the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman before requesting the entire crowd to come forward for an epic closing of ‘Dog Days Are Over’, the breakthrough hit that brought her career to life just two years ago. While some may say the single turned into a cliche pop hit, the momentum pumping through not only Welch’s microphone, but all of Jones Beach, certainly said otherwise.
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