Monday, 16 April 2012

Florence and the Machine 1/4/12 @ Paradiso

Sunday April 1st and the most anticipated concert of the year to date had finally arrived – Florence and the Machine @ Paradiso.

On arrival, it became very evident that I was not the only one waiting with baited breath and high expectations. The line to get in was down the street and headed around the corner and out of sight. A scalper was selling tickets at 80 euro (36 euro original face) and was being inundated by punters willing to part with their hard earned cash.
As the crowd entered the venue they headed to stand right in front of the stage rather then milling around and drinking a beer, they were there to see the band.

The support band Sector could be deemed to have a reasonable Killers-esk sound and the front man earned his keep, keeping the crowd entertained with his witty one liners. They ranged from offering 30 Euros for the person who could scream the loudest, to explaining that there had been a band falling out and Florence would be performing in the foyer and the Machine would be playing in the main hall, although strangely enough neither of these ever came to fruition. He also went on to tell the crowd they were in for “one of the biggest Sundays Amsterdam has ever seen”……so the tone was set and they would be big shoes to fill.

Florence took the stage decked out in her standard bat winged attire (which would be revealed later) and a black cape- what else did you expect? The only other two things that I anticipated to see on stage (and wasn’t disappointed) would be an elegantly shaped harp and a couple of massive fans to keep the band cool and ensure Florence looked windswept and wonderful.

From the opening track two things struck me right away, one, her voice is AMAZING and secondly she is super theatrical as expressed in her dance moves and constant hand gestures, that would have made Kate Bush proud. This evening the crowd would not be disappointed with her performance. She belted out all of the songs, and I particularly enjoyed the version of “Shake it out/ Dog days are over” medley (see below).

During several of the songs I found myself compelled to pay a little homage to the last time I got to see Florence at the Laneway festival in Perth 2010. On this occasion a mate of mine was compelled to yell, “I’ve taken all my drugs…. coppers, come and search me” over and over again, so listen out for that in some of the recordings.

This time I enjoyed the Florence gig a lot more probably because my mate wasn’t screaming in my ear but also Paradiso suited the act 100 times better.

When I hear the words “Amsterdam, tonight is the last gig of our European tour”, I always get a little nervous and a tad bit concerned. That’s because it can easily go two different ways, either the band are loving it and don’t want the evening to end, or they are happy to be at the end and are ready to get on the plane and head home. This occasion was a little half way house, they didn’t rush out of there, but they also looked like they were ready to head home.

So one encore down and the concert was over. The songs had been played impeccably and the thronging masses had been satisfied with there fix of Florence and the machines old and new tracks.

As the crowed filed out of the building Jim and I mused if they had failed to play anything? And whether we were happy with the set? We couldn’t think of anything they missed but is that because they produce “solid” tracks rather then earth shattering and thus it is hard to notice when they miss something?

What was evident from the evenings proceedings was that we had witnessed a fantastic voice in full flight accompanied by a modicum of theatrics, a lone harp and all set to the backdrop of the Paradiso, all these things adding up to a winner of an evening in my book.


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