Florence Welch floats like a butterfly and sings like a banshee. But if you can square the wilting wallflower who speaks airily to the crowd with a certain hippy eloquence with the whirling dervish priestess who performs, you are halfway to enjoying a Florence + the Machine concert.
Only halfway, however, as there is the cosmetically epic music to negotiate too, which finds its most natural, satisfying expression in the freewheeling Stevie Nicks-style MOR pop of Hunger and Ship To Wreck but was just as readily characterised on this High As Hope tour by the foghorn declamation, tribal pounding drums, soaring choral backing vocals, shimmering harp and kitchen sink of Between Two Lungs.
Characterising the atmosphere in the Hydro as “very free, very feminine”, she paid tribute to her Glaswegian granny on Only If For A Night and brought down the billowing curtains for Patricia, inspired by Patti Smith. The crowd were urged to hold hands, hug and – disgusting behaviour – put their phones away for a moment, as the free-spirited Welch skipped, leapt and sashayed across the stage.
She has been experimenting with understatement on her latest album and was most affecting when she just stood still to sing The End Of Love. But then she was off again, going runaround in the crowd, communing with the front rows, where there was laying on of hands for What Kind Of Man and unleashing her full warrior princess persona for the pugilistic melodrama of Big God before ending this massed therapy session with the cathartic Shake It Out. - Fiona Shepherd