By Shanice Rhule
The ethereal Florence Welch and her band rocked the stage at TD Garden on September 14 as part of her U.S. leg of the Dance Fever Tour with opener Mykki Blanco. During the beginning performance of her iconic single, Dog Days Are Over, she greeted fans and newcomers alike: “..All I know is that you’ll have a much better time if you give in and do everything and I say..”
But before the barefooted performer appeared on stage, California-born rapper Mykki Blanco performed with her talented band: Lewis Daniel on saxophone, Morgan Lorelle as backing vocals, Samuel Acevedo on guitar, and Harrsn on keyboard. Although the crowd needed no amping up, Blanco’s dynamic R&B performance was the perfect middle-man for fans to express their excitement. Making her debut in 2012 with the EP, Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels, the artist’s music celebrates life through the lens of a queer person and depicts the struggles that come with it. And Blanco wanted to express her excitement as well; jumping and bending across the stage, there wasn’t a moment where she stood still while spitting her lyrics.
Florence + the Machine
After Blanco and the band said their last goodbyes, the commotion once again buzzed around the arena while waiting for Florence. Her raw, emotional movements have become a hallmark of her live performances. As she soars across the stage, dressed in flowy attire and waves of red hair, she often holds the hands and faces of her admirers, creating something holy and sacred as a way to create intimate connections with the crowd. Welch is a spectacle in and of herself.
The stage was adorned with wax candles and eleven white chandeliers that hung above began to lower as the singer took the spotlight and opened with Heaven Is Here. Along with her powerful
voice, Welch’s backing band was: Rob Ackroyd on guitar, Tom Monger on harp, Cyrus Bayandor on bass, Aku Orraca-Tetteh on percussion, and Dionne Douglas on vocals. Each of them was enchanting and added to the powerful emotions that were being felt in the room.
Until the start of her tour, Welch wasn’t sure if she’d ever tour again. While introducing Morning Elvis, she gave the crowd insight into her lyrics and overall motivation for Dance Fever, “…this one was written about touring here, thinking that maybe it might never happen again. And I thought if I wrote it, it would be like some kind of prayer. And if I got to sing it with you all, we would know we had made it through something together”. The life of a touring musician often becomes tiresome, Welch has admitted, but she’s thankful for the chance it has given her to live a once-in-a-lifetime life.
Being in the music industry for over 15 years, the rock star has had challenges that she expresses through her music. She describes feeling overwhelmed by the ocean’s pressure in her aquatic song, Never Let Me Go, which conveys some of her worst moments of depression and overwhelm. Not having sung the song in 10 years, Welch reveals that she had “hangover shame”. Why did she finally decide to introduce it back to the setlist? “…But what happened is that you did not stop listening to it…for the last 15 years every part of myself that I had thought was too broken or too shameful..every time I put it in a song, you brought it back to with love.”
Final Thoughts: Florence + the Machine is a celebration of the gifts and losses of life; the emotions that ruin and rejuvenate us, it is a concert will not want to miss.
Best Songs to Catch Live: Daffodil, Dream Girl Evil, Never Let Me Go