Florence + the Machine are headlining the Friday night at Glastonbury Festival 2015. No quantity of hype or hatred will change the fact Florence Welch and her trusty comrades have been offered a Pyramid promotion after the legendary Dave Grohl broke his leg earlier this week. This is my reaction to the news and a collation as to why it is a deserved offering that perhaps should have been given from the offset.
It is an inevitably that Florence + the Machine were heading for the top spot with near to ten million albums sold worldwide and the latest triumphant ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The band has been away from Glastonbury for five years and their previous appearance brought one of the largest crowds The Other Stage had ever seen for an ethereal celebration of the debut album ‘Lungs’. Returning with two more albums worth of material, two #1 singles and perhaps most importantly a prolific status of her own, Florence Welch is set to shadow the festival as the sun sets on June 26. She is due to make history as the first British female to take on the Pyramid stage following on from the contrasting Beyonce and Susanne Vega who remain the only other female soloists to have graced the iconic stage in the past three decades.
The band has recently begun a world tour with glorious, entrancing appearances at the likes of Governor’s Ball and Bonnaroo so they are more than prepared to handle the vastness of the crowds. They have headlined Latitude and Bestival on our shores as well as performing a truly unforgettable set at Reading & Leeds 2012 which outshone the headlining act Kasabian in almost every way. As Florence stood beneath a thunderstorm like the commander of clouds with a suitably thunderous vocal, she entranced every member with the whimsical ‘Rabbit Heart’ cinematic ‘No Light No Light’ and exultant ‘What the Water Gave Me’. The new album is packed with more impassioned, honestly driven tracks such as ‘What Kind of Man’ and ‘Mother’ which are assured to be delivered with a passion capable only of Ms Welch as she exorcises demons on a mammoth scale.
There is a real skill in matching the feather light, celestial ‘Cosmic Love’ with the fragmented trance of ‘Spectrum’ yet the thread of the operation is a world class, structurally solid band and a theatrical, bewitching front woman. This very formula is exactly what made and still makes Fleetwood Mac a timeless live outfit.
Although the band only has a week to plan something sensational it would be great to imagine some surprise appearance from past collaborators including Josh Homme, Drake, The Maccabees and Haim. They undoubtedly have a back catalogue to keep the crowd’s attention unlike fellow Brit headliner Mumford & Sons who performed one of the weakest shows the pyramid stage has had the misfortune of hosting in 2013. There is assured to be a wonderful sense of unity during the anthemic choral sunset sing-alongs of ‘Shake It Out’ and ‘Sweet Nothing’ which encapsulates the very spirit of Glastonbury.
For those lucky enough to be attending, do not mourn the Foo Fighters as they will undoubtedly return to claim their top spot soon. Instead take to the Pyramid Stage on Friday evening in order to see the coming of age performance by one of the UK’s most exciting acts. It is assured to be big, possibly blue and undoubtedly beautiful as Florence and her magnificent machine make their long awaited return to Worthy Farm.
Setlist suggestions for Welch and co:
1. Queen of Peace
2. What the Water Gave Me
3. Cosmic Love
5. Ship to Wreck
6. Rabbit Heart
7. Dog Days are Over
8. You’ve Got the Love
9. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
10. Lover to Lover
12. Third Eye
14. What Kind of Man
15. Sweet Nothing
16. Shake It Out