Florence Brings Magic to Philadelphia

On Sunday, October 14th, the Wells Fargo Center transformed into a makeshift place intended for magic, enchantment and fairy-tale realness as Florence Welch, better known as Florence and the Machine, graced the stage in a beautiful, yellow dress. The room was filled with people wearing flower crowns and Stevie Nicks inspired clothing. Florence twirled and glided all over the stage as she returned to Philadelphia to tour her latest and fourth studio album, High as Hope (check out the i99 Album Review here).

The evening began with two consecutive tracks off the new album, which dropped this past Summer, including: “June” and “Hunger.”  High as Hope is Florence’s most personal and vulnerable album to date and she exposed her emotional side and new-founded openness by opening with these two songs. The night continued with revisiting albums one, two and three with “Between Two Lungs” off of Florence’s Debut Album Lungs, “Only if for a Night” from Ceremonials and “Queen of Peace” off of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. 

Before Florence begun her next song, she addressed the crowd with the most  angelic and melodious voice. Even her speaking-voice sounded like a beautiful song. Florence greeted the Philadelphia audience and invited the crowd to stand. Florence explained how the next song was about her home and surviving the time period from the messy teenage years to the late twenties. She advised the crowd that there is light on the other-side as she sung, “South London Forever.”
The following song, “Patricia” was dedicated and is a tribute to the great, Patti Smith. Florence spoke about how Smith told her whenever she performs this song, she is present with her. Florence did warn though, how the song has a violent and aggressive hook in regard to “toxic masculinity.” She furthered this statement with explaining how we are living in complicated times. She admitted to her heart hurting every day. But, she stressed to not lose hope. Florence informed the crowd that she believes in love. She stated, “keep doing good, keep showing up, hope is action and hope can make  difference.”
 After Florence’s powerful speech, she asked the entire audience to hold hands, hence the lyrics “You take my hand in your hand from you flowers grow / And you understand with every seed you sow you make this cold world beautiful.” Florence created unity in the crowd as sung “Patricia.” She gave a final remark before she sung, “If you’re here, you probably believe in women. Sing with us. Rage with us.”
Next, about midway through the set, Florence told the crowd to hug and embrace a stranger. She told us to tell that stranger, the random audience member, that we loved them and wanted them to vote in the upcoming election. There was even a table to register to vote by the merchandise table.  Then, the crowd went wild as she performed her arguably most popular song, “Dog Days Are Over.” I thought the song was coming to an end, but instead Florence asked if we were ready to get weird, uncomfortable and vulnerable. Followed by “do you trust me?” Florence then told the audience to put their cellphones away, throw their hands in the air, jump, and let go of any fear, doubt or insecurity as we all sung in unison, “Run fast for your mother run fast for your father / Run for your children for your sisters and brothers / Leave all your love and your longing behind you / Can’t carry it with you if you want to survive.”
The night slowed down, but Florence did not lose momentum. Her vocals were accentuated by her power and emotion in “100 Years” and “Cosmic Love,” both a new and old track. Florence thanked the audience for accepting her new music and keeping her older music safe for these past ten years. Singing these songs close to one another, emphasized Florence’s gratitude to her fans for sticking with her through her journey of Lungs to High as Hope.
The night ended with “Delilah,” “What Kind of Man,” and was followed with an Encore of “Big God” and “Shake It Out,” which was a perfect way to end the night as it allowed Florence to run, dance, be passionate, grateful and happy through the music, lighting and drums.
As I walked out of the Wells Fargo Center, I could not help but notice the love, unity, magic and empowerment Florence had created. It was as if the music took over her body when she performed, yet she was still in complete control. She was the orchestra conductor and led the band with her angelic voice. Wells Fargo will continue to be a sports arena, but on a Sunday night in October, it will always be the place where Florence and the Machine had created a place of magic, unity and love.

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