Set Review – Florence + The Machine at Osheaga 2018

After a day of sweltering heat, festival-goers of Osheaga made their way towards the main stage for the final set of the night. Getting to the stage was a challenge in itself following Post Malone’s set: a massive counterflow of people leaving the stage, and the aftermath of empty beer cans and water bottles laying all over the ground, painting a chaotic picture that follows a jam-packed rap show.

The headliner of the night: Florence + The Machine. This show was their third time playing Osheaga (after having performed in 2012, and 2015), and the second time as a headliner. After The National ended their sets on the second biggest stage, you could feel the excitement grow through the crowd. A small delay in getting the show started, of roughly 10 minutes (nothing compared to Travis Scott’s set starting more than an hour behind schedule), made anticipation grow even more in the audience.

The lights went down, the band appeared on stage, and started playing Between Two Lungs. Shortly after, like a golden pixie, Florence Welch entered the stage. The mood is set very quickly: this show is different from the band’s previous Osheaga performances. For the next hour and a half, the group went through old classics (Only If for a Night, Sweet Nothing, Dog Days are Over, Cosmic Love, Shake It Out), but also songs from their latest album High as Hope (Hunger, South London Forever, 100 Years, Patricia, Big God).

Those whose first time it was seeing the band live were in for a delightful discovery: Florence Welch is an incredible performer. At times she sang softly, with delicate hand gestures all the way to her fingertips, other times she ran and jumped across the stage, flipped her hair while belting out high notes with impressive vocal technique. She knows how to engage crowds, in a way that made every audience member feel like it was just them and her, dancing in an empty room.

From beginning to end of the set, Florence held the crowd in the palm of her hand. During Sweet Nothing, she asked everyone to climb on their neighbours’ shoulders (“I want to see everyone’s faces!”). During Dog Days are Over, she asked everyone to put down their phones and jump up and down as high as they can (all thousands of people present there obliged, giving everyone the incredible memory of a massive crowd jumping in unison). During Delilah, she hopped down the stage barefoot and walked on the crowd, who is more than willing to keep her up in the air.

Halfway through her set, Florence Welch addressed the crowd: “I know it’s Sunday night, it’s the end of the festival, and it’s a lot. We are going to heal you, ok? You are going to leave the festival and nobody will have a hangover. No one will have any regrets.” One thing is for sure: after such a magical and spiritual performance, everyone in the audience went home feeling elevated, and without a drop of Sunday night blues in sight.

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