Photos by Neil Van

Florence returned to Toronto with her Machine, just over seven months after their first visit to plug their fourth album, High As Hope.

Playing for a just about full Budweiser Stage, Florence and the Machine delivered an emotionally cathartic and thrilling gig with a set list that was almost the same as their visit to the Scotiabank Arena in October.

Opening with a pair of High As Hope songs, “June” and “Hunger”, Florence ran the length of the stage repeatedly while her large band were tight and sounded just right for the duration of their almost two hour set.

I found this visit more satisfying than the previous visit as it seemed more “real”. Florence spoke of some technical difficulties before informing us that the difficulties were with her and that the backstage area was flooded and she was running around in a wet dress. While there was the customary communal love that comes with a Florence show, she just wasn’t her regular chipper self and I found it very endearing that she just levelled with the crowd.

Her voice was stellar, having no issues hitting all of her notes. After hearing about the water issues her running and spinning across the stage was giving me anxiety as I thought the poor woman was going to slide off the stage. There were no such mishaps as she willed Patti Smith’s spirit to the venue for “Patricia” and other set highlights “Dog Days Are Over”, “Cosmic Love” and set closer “What Kind of Man”. The band also aired the new Game of Thrones song “Jenny of Oldstones”.

My only gripe with the evening as the set list’s similarity to the previous visit, but son such a perfect night weather wise, nobody seemed to really mind as they danced and thrilled at her every move. Some of the back of the amphitheatre also lucked out and got an up close with the singer after she ran through the crowd and even jumped in with the crowd to really shake things out.

Opening the night was Blood Orange, Dev Hynes latest project. Unfortunately the nice weather made getting to the venue a brutal experience and I missed over half of their set.