Florence + the Machine, one of the most exciting and critically acclaimed musical groups of this generation, created an intimate and cathartic experience as they graced The Anthem on Friday Oct. 5.

Performances on their tour, named after their June 2018 album “High as Hope,” seamlessly combined fan favorites from previous albums with their new tracks. After the Oct. 5 show quickly sold out, a second show was added for the next day — a testament to the band’s popularity.

American singer-songwriter Beth Ditto, whose music has rock, soul and gospel influences, opened for the group. She not only proved to be an absolute vocal powerhouse but also endeared herself to the audience with her bold attitude and cheeky banter with her band and the crowd.

A minimalistic set made up of wooden beams, warm hues of burnt orange and white lighting helped establish the concert’s calm ambience. On the stage were a variety of instruments, including a massive harp.

Looking as if she had just stepped out of a Renaissance painting, Florence Welch, the frontwoman and force of nature behind Florence + the Machine, sauntered onto the stage barefoot in a floor length off-white lace dress. With one of the most distinctive voices in the music industry today, she conveyed myriad emotions through candid and deep lyrics from the group’s past four albums.


The show began with a vulnerable rendition of “June,” from which the lyrics, “Hold on to each other,” defined the sense of unity for the rest of the night.

Welch was light on her feet as she pranced and twirled around the stage, engaging audience members in different parts of the venue. With her flaming red hair and lace gown trailing behind her, it is difficult to describe her as anything other than ethereal. Her powerful vocals paired with her eccentric movements reaffirmed that she is a talented and mesmerizing stage performer.

“Patricia” was a definite standout from the album “High as Hope.” Inspired by the singer-songwriter icon Patti Smith, Welch explained that this piece was written primarily in honor of a powerful woman she deemed her north star. Before launching into the song, Welch said, “She recently told me, when I sing it, she’s here with me. So, Patti Smith, we welcome you to D.C.!”

During the emotionally liberating performance of “Dog Days are Over,” Welch instructed audience members to hug the person next to them and tell them that they loved them. Additionally, she requested everyone to put away their phones and to admonish those who did not comply — in a “polite British way,” she said. In an era driven by technology, it is a testament to Welch’s power that throughout the entire venue, hardly any phones were seen for the remainder of the song.

The group also performed one of their fan-favorites, “Cosmic Love” from their 2009 debut album “Lungs.” Welch prefaced the performance by explaining the song’s creation: She was dealing with a massive hangover while she wrote it with a band member. The result was a track that utilizes the harp and cosmic crescendos as Welch dramatically and beautifully wails along to the emotional lyrics.

During “Delilah,” Welch ran through the aisle barefoot and embraced random members of the crowd. She sang the upbeat lyrics directly into audience members’ faces. Many of those along the barricade who were fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of Welch’s attention and affection were visibly emotional for the remainder of the concert.

Between her whimsical nature and the group’s seemingly anachronistic musical style, Welch is just as magical as Florence + the Machine’s music portrays her to be. She emanated an indescribable whimsy and charm through her personality and performance that enchanted the audience members.

In less than two hours, Florence + the Machine fostered an environment centered on togetherness and positivity. While the sheer depth of their lyrics brought out a wide range of emotions in the audience members, the grand finale of “Shake It Out” was a cathartic experience that dispelled any and all remaining negative energy in the room, leaving fans feeling light and unburdened upon leaving the show.

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