"This place is huge," Florence Welch said to the crowd, roughly half an hour into her set at the BB&T Center Wednesday, Sept. 26. "I'm looking around now and it's humongous."
Once it got started, the concert was a heavenly mix of blue and white lights shining on Welch, who came out from behind a panel shaped like gothic window panes. In her deep blood-red dress with black undertones and baroque frills around the sleeves, skirt and collar, she had a silhouette reminiscent of the Wuthering Heights.
She was barefoot throughout her performance, during which she jumped and danced onstage -- and off. But her dress was ripped and she'd fixed it with safety pins, one of them pricked her in the foot.
She recovered, and went on with her slew of crowd favorites. She started off the show with "Ceremonials," and some that followed were "No Light, No Light," "Cosmic Love," and "Spectrum," which she prefaced with a short speech about having written that song for Miami.
The mostly female crowd shrieked through it all, but the number of men I saw dancing, singing along and looking like they were out of their own volition was a pleasant surprise. My own companion was not one of them, but the two boy-belters seated behind us made up for his ennui.
But even my guest livened up through Welch's energy. She asked the crowd to sing, to scream, to climb on each other's shoulders, to kiss and hug each other -- and they did.
For the encore, a double-feature of "What The Water Gave Me," my personal favorite, and "Dog Days," Welch had everyone hopping as a ritual end to her show. She gave cues on when to start bouncing, when to scream, and shrieked herself toward the end of the song, contorted with feeling.
Before the lights dimmed on the band, their leader said, never out of breath, "We have been Florence and the Machine, thank you!" And it was done.
The ushers moved fans in the top bleachers to empty seats closer to the floor before the show. They should have moved everyone into the pit: For such a high-energy, intimate act, the more crowded, the better.
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