April 16th, 2012, 6:47 pm · · posted by GUEST
When Florence + the Machine made their Coachella debut two years ago, singer Florence Welch and her band were newcomers with a hit single, “Dog Days Are Over,” which led to her landing on the smallest stage as an overflow crowd clamored to get closer.
Since then Flo and her band have had numerous hits, been nominated for a best new artist Grammy and had songs placed in all manner of TV shows and movies. Quite appropriately, Welch got the second-best billing on Sunday, the closing act on the Outdoor stage, and from the get-go proved she deserved it every bit.
Arriving on stage via a backdrop reminiscent of a cathedral window, Welch opened with a pair of ghostly lost-love songs, “If Only For A Night” and “What The Water Gave Me.” Dressed in a gown of deep blue with yards of sheer blue fabric draped from her arms, she danced and twirled across the stage like an ethereal, defiant angel, her powerful voice captivating the adoring crowd.
About that voice: Was there a purer, stronger one on display this weekend? When Welch lets loose, as she did amid the pounding rhythms of “Cosmic Love,” it’s a glorious thing. (That that song ended with a harp solo was a beautiful moment, too.)
Voice and music, plus lyrics that speak to the mysteries of the heart, have clearly given Welch a strong connection to her fans. When, before “Rabbit Heart,” with it’s “raise it up” refrain, she asks the women in the audience to climb atop the shoulders of a friend or a lover, several hundred young women popped up above the crowd, swaying as the song unfolded.
And by the time she reached “Dog Days,” her penultimate song, there was no one unwilling to jump when she commanded they do so, and all joined in on the chorus to share in the celebration of the song.
Click here to see all photos from day 3.
By Peter Larsen for The Orange County Register.