When Florence Welch floated onstage last night to begin the first of two sold-out shows at NYC’s Terminal 5, it was clear she’d arrived — in more ways than one. Thanks to a show-stopping performance at this year’s MTV VMAs, Welch has suddenly transformed from “just-under-the-radar alt pop ‘It’ girl” to “that redheaded chick who sings that song from that Julia Roberts movie.” Needless to say, the anticipation was high.
But she delivered. Boy, did she deliver. In a tight, 75-minute set, Welch brought all the glorious manic emotion of her debut album Lungs to life. Wearing a gauzy white dress, she wielded a single drumstick as, at times, a conductor’s baton (to coax applause from the crowd) and a blunt force instrument (to lay down the primal, percussive beats of songs like “Howl” and “The Drumming Song”).
She didn’t walk around the stage so much as she skipped, jumped, and danced across its width. Her powerful, guttural voice was in perfect form as were her interpretive skills at adapting her studio material for live performance (at one point, she gestured to the crowd to help her out with the chorus of “You’ve Got The Love”). She played most of Lungs to a packed crowd that sang along to the words, but also debuted a new tune, “Strangeness and Charm,” and took on “Heavy In Your Arms” from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack. At one point during the evening, she told the crowd that she still has trouble finding her way round New York: “So if you see a lost English redhead asking, ‘Excuse me, how do you get here,’ that’s me.”
Welch finished the set with her most well-known song, “Dog Days Are Over,” made famous by its use in almost every commercial geared toward women, most notably, the trailer for Eat, Pray, Love. Though it was clear the crowd was with her for the entire evening (in fact, at one point she noted, “It’s so amazing to come here and play and see everyone singing the words.”), as soon as the first harp notes of “Dog Days” were heard they were almost immediately drowned out by cheers by the Now That’s What I Call Music-set.
So New Yorkers, if, by chance, you do see that lone redhead wandering down the street, chances are, she’ll be surrounded by a mob of adoring fans. Those days of being lost and looking for directions are over.