Critics’ Corner: Florence + the Machine Concert Review

By: Centerspread Editor Neha Shah

Hundreds piled into the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA to see Florence + the Machine perform on Wednesday, October 21. Cars carrying eager fans were parked for miles. Florence + the Machine returned to the Greek Theatre after a long five years to debut her newest album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

The Ghost of the Saber Tooth Tiger, a newer band with a vibe reminiscent of the psychedelic sixties, opened for Florence + the Machine. Although the crowd enjoyed their music, many struggled to decipher the hard to hear lyrics. The music was mellow, and didn’t excite the crowd as much as it could have, but rather served as a pleasant interlude as people conversed and made their way into the venue.

After about half an hour, the lights finally dimmed, and the audience cheered in unison as Florence + the Machine finally came out, jumping right into the song “What the Water Gave Me” from her previous album Ceremonials. Florence’s set list included 11 out of 18 tracks from her past albums. This served as a letdown to various fans because she only performed her most popular and well-known songs from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Nevertheless, Florence still delivered an amazing and heartfelt performance that the audience appreciated. The lights flashed, smoke appeared, and the backdrop sparkled, creating a sense of both comfort and surprise.

The concert was thrilling and exciting throughout, but also had some very emotional moments. When Florence performed “Third Eye,” she asked the crowd to put their phones away and to simply “be with [her] in this moment, and to share all the feeling [she] has in the song.” For the entire duration of the song, feelings of unity and togetherness prevailed. Another memorable moment was when Florence sang “Shake It Out.” In the middle of the song, she ran off stage with her microphone and danced and sang among the audience. She then performed the song that sparked her monumental rise to fame— “Dogs Days Are Over”—she yelled to the crowd “I want all of you to take one item of clothing off and start waving and twirling it around above your head!” The crowd went absolutely wild. The entire theater cheered, sang, and jumped along with her before she quickly ran off the stage—ending the show. The crowd called for an encore. The venue was pitch black, when all of a sudden, thee theater was illuminated by cell phone flashlights turning on. Florence + the Machine came out again and was greeted by this heartwarming sight. They looked in wonder at the crowd in front of them and began singing “What Kind of Man.” Florence finally ended with “Drumming Song,” before she fled the stage.

Overall, although her singing was flawless and showcased her talent, the fact that she didn’t perform most of her new songs was a huge let down. One thing is for sure, however, Florence is able to really captivate and pump up her audience with her energy and voice.


Rating: B+


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