It is not often that we have experiences so beautiful that we are lost for words. Yet the Florence and the Machine new intimate shows do exactly that – mesmerise, enchant and put you under a spell. I managed to grab a ticket for the Newcastle Dance Fever intimate show that took place on the 15th of April 2022.
Everything connected to this event seemed to take me by surprise and all the things that could have proven to be an obstacle aligned themselves smoothly in front of me. In high demand, the tickets for the intimate shows had a presale available only to those who pre-ordered Florence and The Machine’s new album Dance Fever, out on Friday the 13th of May. Not only did I manage to buy a ticket when everyone else said they were completely sold out already, but I did so with the help of a stranger who offered me their presale code. If you are reading this, thank you with all my heart. Coincidentally, the presale happened just after my birthday, and the ticket I managed to grab was to the very first show.
While travelling to Newcastle, even the weather seemed Florence and The Machine appropriate, with heavy, stormy clouds in the distance and a misty light all over the hills. The same light was later going to be reproduced on the stage at the first Florence and The Machine concert in years. The Newcastle show on the 15th of April was the very first of the Dance Fever tour, announcing exclusivity and uniqueness.
I arrived in the queue an hour early and even by then about 100 people were already there.
As everything about this show aligned so beautifully for me, it appeared that my seat had an excellent view of the stage. Sat in the front row of the balcony I had an excellent view of the performers. It was the first Florence and the Machine show where I was so close. Another 75 minutes later, Florence made it onto the stage.
As Florence appeared , she made eye contact with all of us, and stretched her arm as a symbol of wanting to touch ours. I could swear she looked right into my eyes. The smiles and energy she had showed she was happy to be back and more so, happy to see us. Even with no more than 2100 people the venue was vibrating from cheers and clapping.
The set list began with Shake It Out and the crowd had an extraordinary energy. With every single lyric known, this was probably the best atmosphere I have ever seen at a Florence and the Machine concert. Not only was the audience singing but we knew the songs so well she let us be her choir many times during her performance. Adding echoes, choruses and effects onto the songs, it felt like a collective experience. In fact, it felt as if the audience was included as part of the show, as the stage light moved a few times on us, lighting our faces up and making our reactions visible to the band. Responding to the energy and the cheering audience, Florence stated a few times that “This feels very overwhelming. Definitely different from being at home!”
During the What Kind of Man performance, Florence made a mistake with the lyrics: “Ah f* Did I f* this up?” After which she consulted with fans in the front row about the lyrics “Did I get it right? No. What’s the first line?” Then she asked the audience “Should we do this together? It’s been an intense couple of years…” Turning towards the band she giggled and asked “Am I fired? It’s just the Machine now”. As the song got played again from the start, Florence laughed even more and after the lyrics “I’d already had a sip/ So I’d reasoned I was drunk enough to deal with it” she confirmed “I am still sober!”
As expected for an intimate exclusive show, there were many songs performed that I personally have not heard at her bigger shows before such as Kiss with a Fist and Rabbit Heart. There were also acoustic versions of some songs, which increased the sense of intimacy, uniqueness and exclusivity. An example of that is Never Let Me Go. Before starting the song, Florence stated that she had not performed it in ten years. She went on further to say: ‘Every time I tried to push a song away, you love it the most and you bring it back to me. I am so grateful to you for that. And like the tide bringing back to me, I want to give it back to you.’ Nervous about making a mistake again, she said: ‘’I haven’t spoken to anyone in like two years let alone sang… it’s a lot! It’s a lot!”
In terms of new, unreleased songs, there were two played. Free and Girls Against God which sound very raw, emotional and personal. Despite the melancholy and sweetness of the melody, Girls Against God is a satire at Florence’s feelings during lockdown – of hopelessness, ridicule of the situation and a threat that she will take revenge. Florence stated that: ‘’For me, singing and being here with you has always made me understand some sense of spirituality […] And in those years I wasn’t sure whether they would come back, I was very angry at God […] As if God cares that I am mad… So, it was […] a song about the artist’s ego versus the reality of your own insignificance. And I just wanted to say that even to get to this show there have been so many moments where even this one show might not have happened. We had a few people go down, and some people had to drop out, couldn’t be with us this evening and we are sending them so much love. […] It’s incredible to be with you tonight because… […] it almost didn’t happen.‘
Out of the two new songs exclusively performed at the show, Girls Against God was my favourite. Could possibly be because I also cried into cereal at midnight…
Florence also received a doll and an LGBTQ flag from the audience, which she displayed in her arms during her performance of Spectrum.
The encore really got me again, even though she does it at almost every show. I really cheered my heart out in the hope the band would come back again, which they did. For the encore, they performed Cosmic Love and Spectrum. This seems to have changed for the Blackburn show, which ended in Dog Days Are Over. This could be explained by the audience’s response to it in Newcastle. The crowd sang so loud you could barely hear Florence anymore, and after her request of putting all phones away and jumping, you could feel the shock of the jumping in the vibrations of the building. The energy was palpable.
After the show, I did go to the backstage door and waited together with other fans for about an hour, until a member of the city hall staff confirmed to us that Florence had already left a long time ago. These decisions might change from show to show, but it is rumoured that the band will not meet fans after the shows due to Covid. We still got a few set lists and had fun waiting. As I was stating to my friend that “I don’t feel hungry yet, I’m too full of adrenaline” I got a smile from another fan.
Rosy, Romantic Makeup Look
My look for the concert was inspired by Florence. As she loves lightweight, thin materials, with large, ruffle sleeves, I bought a dress with her style in mind. Therefore, the pink, flowery and tiered dress I bought recently is a combination of my preference in style with a touch of Florence’s exuberance and elegance. The overall idea for the makeup was a rosy, romantic look with a touch of vintage.
To prepare my complexion I used the Comfort Zone Hydramemory Mask which I washed off after a few minutes. Then I generously hydrated the skin with the Gentle Cream from Medicalia and smoothed it out before the application of makeup with the very hydrating The Blockbuster Cream from JLo Beauty. I did not use sunscreen as the event took place in the evening and I did not want my face to seem ghostly white in artificial lighting or photographs, if I decided to take any.
For the complexion I wanted a seamless, smoothed out base. I used the Ex1 Cosmetics Invisiwear Liquid Foundation in a very thin layer. For coverage I used the old time favourite Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer which I also used to spot conceal with the help of the Lisa Eldridge Seamless Blend Brush No15. For a full review of the brush watch my video here. To bronze up I blended the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer on the perimeter of my face including some on the neck.
I was generous with the Lisa Eldridge Elevated Glow Highlighter and blended it in on the top of my cheeks as well as on my temples and above the eyebrow. This gave me freshness and shine. I was also generous with the blush, as I wanted lovely, rosy cheeks. For that, I used the Hourglass blushes in the Ghost Edit Limited Edition Palette.
Before applying eyeshadow I used the Urban Decay Eye Primer in Eden. The eyes were a combination of smokey browns in the outer corner with a touch of cool toned, grudge metallic grey on the lid. For these I used the Scott Barnes Snatural Palette No1. To make the look more romantic I added the Lisa Eldridge Liquid Lurex Eyeshadow in shade Bianca. To blend all of these I used the Lisa Eldridge brushes No7 and No8.
For mascara, I had to use my all time favourite considering the special event, and that is the L’Oreal Lash Paradise. I gave the eyes a girly cat eye effect with the Eyeko brown liquid eyeliner. Looking back, I probably mixed too many styles on the eyes, going against the smoothness and freshness of the shadow with the sharp liquid liner, but as we all know, when we are anxious we tend to add more makeup than necessary and use more products than usual.
For lips, I used the Lisa Eldridge lip pencil and lipstick in shade Velvet Fawn. Overall, the look was rosy, romantic and nostalgic with vintage elements as well as new ones. Velvet Fawn is a matte, vintage shade, but the sparkly eyeshadow and the gorgeously fresh highlight brought the look back into the present.
For perfume I used Coco Mademoiselle from Chanel, one of my all time favourite perfumes and a suitable one for the occasion, as it is strong yet romantic.
The concert was filled with energy, excitement and positive emotions. I sometimes feel melancholic at Florence and The Machine concerts, but with the intimate show at Newcastle, the very first of the 2022 tour, the performers and the crowd were exuberant, loud and happy. Starting with Florence’s large smile to us and ending in happy cheers from the audience, the overall experience was filled with positivity, hope and dance. A perfect synchronisation with the name – Dance Fever.
Share your experiences from the Dance Fever tour in the comment section below!