Florence and the Machine @ Alexandra Palace 9th March 2012

After the previous days débâcle I honestly thought they would of learnt from the mistakes that were made. But how wrong was I. I turned up at Alexandra Palace at 9am and was the 2nd one there. As expected plenty of people turned up earlier compared to the 1st day. The queue kind of got messy due to the fact they left it extremely late to put out the barriers. I would say at that time around 30-40 fans were sitting on the steps. Like the previous day there were three individual rows which people nearer to the back of the first queue joined. They literally jumped for glee after hearing that each queue was going to open at the same time. So nearer the time the doors opened each queue opened which resulted in everyone lining up on the steps. It was actually was like how you would line up for a sprint. Basically this was dog eat dog, the fans that arrived early had no advantage so it was just who gets to the main doors the quickest. To be honest Alexandra Palace hadn’t grasped the concept of queuing. I mean if you arrive early you want to get a good spot and you felt that you have achieved the right to be there as you have put in the hours (Just imagine if this whole fiasco happened at a Lady Gaga concert). Once in everyone sprinted to the middle door. Just seeing the fact the man on the door had a walkie talky did put me ease. They then opened and like the previous day there was complete pandemonium. Basically the door on the right had opened and we saw people running to the front. At this time I was extremely annoyed and I wasn’t going to let myself not be front row. So I like many other people ran and I was slowed down by some security guard because I was running (if they had treated the people who had arrived early better then this wouldn’t of happened). I managed to get barrier on the far left and my friends were a couple of people to my right. I then quickly went over then prised my way to fit in the small gap.

Kicking off the evening were Theme Park who are are a 4 piece band that have hotly been tipped for 2012. This group consisted of Miles Haughton (vocals, guitar), Marcus Haughton (vocals, guitar), Louis Bhose (bass) and Oscar Manthorpe (guitar). “Hi guys” Miles said as soon as the band came onto the stage. The set was short but sweet. At the moment this fantastic band only have three singles to their name resulting in this set giving an insight of what you can expect from the début album. Things kicked off with the first Theme Park single this being A Mountain We Love. This steady paced song was extremely infectious which made you want to dance. The lyrics were excellent as well. “Hi guys we’re called Theme Park, it’s really good to be here. Thanks for coming down early to see us” Miles Haughton said to the packed crowd. The current single Milk then followed on. Unlike the opener this track was extremely pacey. I actually found the vocals to be dreamy and light. It was then onto Jamaica. This song had a folk vibe and it reminded me of Noah and the Whale. The vocals were rather smooth. Ghosts was next and this was the B Side to Milk. I found this song to be rather mesmerising. It was then onto an untitled song was next. I will call it Dreamin’. This song has to feature on the debut album and it is so different compared to the other songs that had been sung during the set. For starters it sounded a lot heavier. It was then onto the other half of the début AA single released by the band last year this being Wax. I found this song to be rather sleek and smooth. The set ended with the infectious forthcoming single Two Hours. This song captivated me from the very start. To sum the set up Theme Park were a mixture of Calypso and Pop. They are certainly a band worth checking out if you haven’t heard of them.

SET LIST

A Mountain We Love
Milk
Jamaica
Ghosts
Dreamin’
Wax
Two Hours

After having witnessed a 45 minute set by The Horrors it was then onto the main course of the evening. Florence and the Machine took to the stage around 9.15pm. The set list was exactly the same as the previous night apart from the fact it was played in a completely order. Once on stage there was a harp introduction which then led to Florence opening with Only For A Night. At first there was Welch’s silhouette then she stepped out and came down the steps. This was a powerful song which implied death in a dream. She was wearing the exact same outfit as the prior day. What The Water Gave Me followed on straight away. This sleek song had a chilled out melody. You could see that Welch put every ounce of energy into this song. It was then onto the first alteration of the night and this being the beautiful ballad Cosmic Love. This song had been extended and in front of me were photographers arguing that it hadn’t finished (basically the security guards thought it was over after the whole crowd started clapping as they thought the song was over). There was a slow tempo to this lovely song and as to be expected everyone sang along. After plenty of raucous cheers it was then onto Between Two Lungs. This haunting song and Welch’s vocals were very operatic. Between Two Lungs was delivered faultlessly and went down well with the crowd. Once this epic song was over it was then straight into Shake It Out. This was an entrancing song and is very infectious as well. Before singing this fun song Florence de robed herself to reveal the fact she was wearing a Egyptian like cat suit. Once over Florence span round and then launched into Dog Days Are Over. This was yet another epic song which had been extended. Dog Days was a real crowd please and had powerful lyrics which were delivered at a rip roaring pace. “How are you London? Thankyou so much for having us we’re Florence and the Machine. This is our 2nd night at Alexandra Palace. Thankyou all so much for coming” Welch said before asking if everyone could jump up and down continuously. I must say the final part of this song was the best because it oozed so much energy.

The whole orchestra came into play for the fantastic Breaking Down. This song was a slice of pop perfection. Breaking Down was both up tempo and very upbeat. “This is the part of the show where I feel very polite and like I should shake everyone’s hand individually. I got jitters on the 2nd night” Florence then said to the crowd before revealing that she had some of Isabella’s special water. It was then onto the only alteration of the night and this being an acoustic version of Lover To Lover. This song was delivered strongly and sounded amazing live. It was then onto Heart Lines. I found this song to be infectious and it had a chorus you feel obliged to sing along to. Florence Welch has a cracking pair of lungs as she can hit the high notes at ease. When this song was played I was immediately reminded of KT Tunstall. “I get really shy about what to say on stage, I just end up saying hello to everyone again and again and again” Welch said to the crowd before getting stuck into the ever so haunting Leave My Body. The song itself also had a gospel feel. It was then straight into the light and entrancing All This & Heaven. I found this song to be rather infectious and the lyrics are pure genius. The melody was amazing and if a song can put a smile on you face or make you feel good, well this is your song.

Thankyou so much. If you have a lady and you love her, I wanna see some people on shoulders for this song” Florence said to the crowd. This resulted in some ladies being hoisted up onto their partner/ friend shoulders. The song which was next was Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up). I found this song to be rather magical and you feel obliged to sing along to the lyrics. The chorus was rather energetic and powerful. “Round of applause for the ladies, this one’s for the gentlemen” Welch mentioned to the packed crowd. This being an epic and full blown performance of Spectrum. Florence put every ounce of energy into this spectacular song. Ending the evening was current single No Light No Light. This song started off rather gentle then when the drums kicked in, it became a full on force. Once over the band left the stage only for the string section and the orchestra to stay on. After a couple of minutes came a string introduction to the wonderful You’ve Got The Love. This was a beautiful emotional ballad which was delivered superbly. The string section just added to the epicness of the song. “We’ve been Florence and the Machine, thankyou so much for having us Alexandra Palace” Florence said before introducing each member of her band. The evening was then capped off with the forthcoming single Never Let Go and the vocal performance was simply spine tingling.

SET LIST

Only For A Night
What The Water Gave Me
Cosmic Love
Between Two Lungs
Shake It Out
Dog Days Are Over
Breaking Down
Lover To Lover
Heart Lines
Leave My Body
All This & Heaven
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
Spectrum
No Light No Light

ENCORE

You’ve Got The Love
Never Let Go

OVERALL: What I had just witnessed was something extremely special indeed. I love Florence, I love Ceremonials and I’m counting down until the day I see her perform live again. As for Theme Park they were a wonderful choice of support act and I’m sure their short set resulted in them gaining more fans. Now The Horrors are growing on me. I may not be a massive fan but the set they played was enjoyable.

Finally the performance by Florence was sublime. If I had to pick which day was better I would have to say this one. Even though people may think different I found myself enjoying this night more than the prior. Maybe it was down to the fact I was at the barrier.

In regards to how the fans whom arrived early were treated slightly upsets me. I myself was one of those fans who arrived there at 9am in the morning hoping to get to the barrier. The system that they adopted basically caused plenty of pandemonium. I had heard that the previous day one loyal fan (who turned up early) tripped when running to the door and fell flat on her face. Yes you could say it was her fault as you shouldn’t run. But if it was organised a bit better then the whole queuing débâcle’s over these 2 days wouldn’t of happened. Why Alexadra Palace can’t adopt the snaking system that HMV Apollo and o2 Arena successfully use is beyond me.

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