By Blake Drinen
Florence + The Machine, the musical collective responsible for smash hits “Dog Days Are Over” and “Shake It Out,” proved already to have had a banner year within 2018. Following the resounding critical and commercial success from their newest LP High As Hope came their quickly following world tour, the group gradually matriculating throughout the U.S. from August until late October. Making its penultimate stop at Chicago’s United Center this past Friday, while the aptly-titled “High as Hope Tour” has ultimately concluded its run in the states, the lasting impressions made by Florence Welch and fellow bandmates have been nothing short of utterly remarkable. Here are five reasons why the tour proves one of the most successful of the year:
- The Opening Acts
Unlike a good majority of major arena tours, Florence + The Machine bring on a wide variety of artists to open for them within different geographical regions of the U.S. Acts such as Billie Eilish, Grizzly Bear, and for Chicago specifically, Perfume Genius, all made appearances throughout the tour’s run. Such diversification makes for an exciting and inclusive experience, allowing for multiple artists to gain exposure while not confined to twenty plus shows. Perfume Genius’s set proved a satisfactory compliment to Florence’s, both artists unapologetically themselves although still exhibiting their extraordinary musical abilities.
- The Production
Like Florence herself, the tour’s production still boasts a grand sense of elegance within its appeared simplicity. Even from far above, the stage, backed by lovely wood paneling and lit by warmly inviting lights, still appears aesthetically pleasing and delightfully complements the music while not heavily distracting from it. The setup remains understated in the very best way possible.
- The Music (Obviously)
The primary reason to go, even after ten years since their initial formation, Florence + The Machine still have utterly astonishing things to say with new tracks “June,” Hunger,” “South London Forever,” and “Big God.” These newest tracks still complement their style beautifully, and Florence Welch brings an immense power to the live renditions. Old favorites including “Dog Days Are Over” and “Between Two Lungs” make welcomed appearances and pay tribute to long-time fans while introducing their newest ones to some of the most distinguished tracks within their discography.
- Florence Herself
There are few artists in the music industry who conduct themselves with as much soul and pure optimism as Florence Welch does while on stage. In every moment, she invites the audience to sing, jump, and clap along to every pounding rhythm of the music, appearing truly grateful for the platform that she possesses to express her talent. Welch, more than anything else, makes the experience about the fans and writes a beautiful love letter to all of them with her poetic lyricism and heavenly production. Rarely does an arena show as big as this one radiate with such joy and loving acceptance.
As Florence + The Machine embark on the international leg of the “High as Hope” Tour, I eagerly await not only new music but also another tour announcement so I can again relive the serenity that their live shows bring. Until then, I will be in the corner having High As Hope on repeat and shouting from the rooftops how their tour remains of the very best of 2018.