Florence and the Machine bring clarity to warm, smoky night

Tahoe Onstage

“High As Hope” lived up to Florence and the Machine’s reputation as a vividly encapsulating band.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Shaun Astor

“This is the first night of the ‘High As Hope Tour.’ If you’re sitting down, you’re going to want to stand up so you can dance with us.”

So began Florence Welch addressing the audience at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys on a warm, wildfire-smoky night. Florence and the Machine – featuring eight members backing Welch – opened with “June,” giving the song its first recital in a live setting. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the music and Welch’s vocals immediately gave me chills.

Upon the song’s end, Welch, looking like an apparition in a light colored slip dress, went from cradling the microphone center stage to running to the stage’s edges as The Hunger took up the energy level. For the next 90 minutes, she would spin, jump, wail, plead, coo, and occasionally laugh as she performed a selection from each of her albums.

And the crowd obliged – with everyone on their feet the entirety of the set, held captive to Welch’s unique swings of melancholic and ecstatic energy. And while I admit that I think, aside from a handful of exceptional songs, that her albums are simply pretty good, her live performances are on a completely different level. Her energy, her bursts between enraptured soft vocals and ecstatic movement that sees her spinning, running, and stretching at the edge of the stage toward the audience all combine to an almost transcendental level.

Notable moments included her asking for the audience’s trust, and then encouraging everyone to put their phones away, to hold hands with those surrounding them whether they were friends or complete strangers, and to simply jump for as long and as high as they could while the collective music of harps, keyboards, cellos, and guitars played loudly into the warm summer night. At one point, she left the stage and ran into the crowd, singing as she walked and danced with the audience enveloping her.

White tapestries draped high on the stage, while she ended her set, silhouetted in stage lights. The first night of ‘High As Hope’ absolutely lived up to her reputation as a vividly encapsulating performer.

Tahoe Onstage

Wet opened the Lake Tahoe show.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage

Opening band Wet, from Brooklyn, is an alumnus of Neon Gold Records. Their drowsy ethereal pop, with sparse electronic percussion couldn’t seem to fill the amphitheater the way that it sounds like it might a more intimate venue. Regardless, the group’s folky presentation greeted the dusk mood and was appreciated by a handful of fans pressed against the front railing singing along to each song.

— Shaun Astor

>> VIDEO of Aug. 11 Outside Lands performance in San Francisco

Tahoe Onstage

Florence and the Machine photos by Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage

Florence and The Machine on tour|
September 8         Vancouver, BC, Canada                                                              Skookum Festival
September 10                Seattle, WA                                                                                  KeyArena†
September 11               Portland, OR                                                                            Moda Center†
September 14          Salt Lake City, UT                                                                    Maverik Center†
September 15                Denver, CO                                                                     Grandoozy Festival
September 22             Las Vegas, NV                                                                        Life Is Beautiful
September 23             San Diego, CA         Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State University‡
September 25            Los Angeles, CA                                                                   Hollywood Bowl‡
September 26            Los Angeles, CA                                                                   Hollywood Bowl‡
September 29                 Dallas, TX                                        The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory‡
September 30               Houston, TX                                     The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion‡
October 2                    Nashville, TN                                                                   Bridgestone Arena§
October 3                    Charlotte, NC                                                                      Spectrum Center§
October 5                 Washington, D.C.                                                                       The Anthem**
October 6                 Washington, D.C.                                                                       The Anthem**
October 9                    New York, NY                                                                       Barclays Center‡
October 12                   Boston, MA                                                                              TD Garden††
October 13                  Uncasville, CT                                                             Mohegan Sun Arena††
October 14                Philadelphia, PA                                                             Wells Fargo Center††
October 16            Toronto, ON, Canada                                                           Air Canada Centre††
October 19                    Chicago, IL                                                                          United Center‡‡
October 20               Minneapolis, MN                                                                      Target Center‡‡

*with Wet

†with St. Vincent and Lizzo

‡with Kamasi Washington

  • with Billie Eilish

**with Beth Ditto

††with Grizzly Bear

‡‡with Perfume Genius

About Shaun Astor

Shaun Astor cites pop music singers and social deviants as being among his strongest influences. His vices include vegan baking, riding a bicycle unreasonable distances and fixating on places and ideas that make up the subject of the sentence, "But that’s impossible…" He splits his time between Reno and a hammock perched from ghost town building foundations. Check out his work at www.raisethestakeseditions.com

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