Peace, love, and happiness filled Toronto last night as Florence + The Machine made a stop at the Scotiabank Arena as part of their High as Hope Tour. The classy, British, redheaded angel that is Florence Welch is not only one of the most talented vocalists right now, but also a strong and uplifting role model to women everywhere. She’s the closest thing to a real-life Mary Poppins… just more of a hippy. And although Welch is no stranger to sad songs, this night would only be about human togetherness.
Welch, who’s voice alone is powerful enough to fill ten stadiums, is also backed by eight musicians, including two percussionists, two pianists, and a harpist. She waltzed her way to centre stage, bare-footed and wearing a light, cream-coloured gown. As soon as she took hold of her microphone, the audience was in awe. For most of the first song, “June,” the lead track from her latest album, she was stationary, grasping everyone with her magnificent pipes. Just as the song broke down into the final section and she had you in her bind, she leapt from her mic stand, dancing, skipping, and spinning from one end of the stage to the other, like an emphatic fairy ballerina. Perfectly transitioning into the grooves of “Hunger,” the first single from High as Hope.
Welch also likes to interact with her audience and for them to interact with each other. “Hello Toronto, do you want to dance with us?” She asked in a posh and delicate voice. After explaining that the song “South London Forever” is about her hometown struggles and how her heart hurt every day for the pains of the world, she encouraged everyone in the arena to hold hands.
Likewise, during the bridge of the popular “Dog Days are Over,” Welch asked everyone to hug a stranger and tell them you love them. Before returning to the final chorus she asked everyone to put their phones away so we could all share a moment. She told us to politely tap someone if they still had their phone out. “You can ask in a British accent if it makes you feel better about the whole situation,” she giggled. Once no phone was in sight, the band built back up into final chorus and everyone bounced together with their arms in the air. A true spectacle to behold.
But Welch wasn’t done there. During the song “Delilah,” she did a lap around the arena and danced with her fans on the floor… still bare foot.
Welch is an exceptional example of what it means to be a female artist and role model. As she told us about a dear friend, that the song “Patricia” was named after, she also explained how the middle section of the song is about toxic masculinity. “There isn’t much of that at a Florence + The Machine show, if you’re here, you probably believe in the power of women.” As she ended her main set with the mighty anthem “What Kind of Man,” Welch approached various men in the front row, embraced them and touched foreheads with them.
Once you had enough time to calm down from all the feels, Florence + The Machine returned for a two-song encore. Starting with the deep and emotional “Big God” from High as Hope, and wrapping the 100-minute set with the spirited “Shake It Out.” Welch continued to daintily bounce around, while confetti rained over the jubilant crowd. Completing a night that proved a Florence + The Machine concert is more than music with impressive vocals, it’s an all-inclusive experience that warms the human soul.
Editor’s Note: Check out our photos here.