Whoever coined the phrase 'fiery redhead' must have had Florence Welch in mind.

Waves of red hair flew everywhere as the 29-year-old front woman of Florence and the Machine skipped across the stage, bare foot, with a tambourine during the final show of their How Big tour, at Auckland's Vector Arena.

The British band - which included a pack of back-up singers, a horn section, synth players, guitarists, a drummer and a harpist - was a well-oiled music machine, with Welch leading them, looking majestic as she twirled in her white blouse and flared pants. The singer could have burst into flames with the amount of energy she was putting out.

All night the whole group was bursting with life as they busted out hit after hit, from Ship To Wreck from their latest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, to Drumming Song, from their 2009 debut album Lungs.


Welch's voice didn't disappoint with her unique quivering vocal-runs singing out beautifully in full force. She encouraged the crowd to get up out of their seats and on to each other's shoulders during Rabbit Heart, making the show feel a lot like a summer festival slot. She whipped the audience into a frenzy as she ran down the side of the crowd to the soundstage, singing to the people in the stands at the back of the arena.

Welch asked people to put their phones away, be present and enjoy the moment for Third Eye. They (mostly) obeyed. It was almost bizarre seeing a crowd not hidden behind their cellphones for once.

The stage glowed pink during You've Got The Love as Welch made a love heart shape with her hands, before thanking the crowd for filling the band "with so much love and energy" for the final show of their tour.

There was a sense of joyfulness throughout the performance of Shake It Up from both the band and the crowd. Spectrum's rolling drums got people dancing and What Kind Of Man's gentle opening was followed by stomping from the stands before the heavy rocking riffs of the song played.

It's no wonder the singer broke her foot performing at the Coachella Music Festival in California earlier this year. Welch owned the stage with her dancing, spinning and running as she sang, even head-banging at times. She must have taken advanced interpretive dance lessons with the way she was throwing her body into different positions with the music.

For the band's biggest hit, Dog Days Are Over, Welch got the crowd to turn to one another and embrace before getting fans to take something off and "wave it for love and peace, wave it 'cause you love being released'', Florence said.

People waved the items of clothing around their heads, jumped as hard as they could to the song, some even threw shirts on stage and Welch ran around picking them up before throwing them in the air.

Florence and the Machine's performance was a relentless buzz of energy, music and fun, which had the sold-out crowd screaming, singing and going nuts all night.

Who: Florence and the Machine
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: Saturday, November 21

- nzherald.co.nz