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Byline: Warren Manger

A RECORD crowd gathered in the Jaguar Exhibition Hall at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday night to welcome Florence and the Machine to Coventry.

The concert put the capacity of the newly expanded hall to the test as 12,000 fans flocked to see the chart toppers in the flesh.

Not only was it the biggest crowd yet for an indoor event at the Ricoh Arena, it also eclipsed the attendance at Coventry City's match against Walsall earlier that day.

Florence and the Machine delivered a show worthy of the occasion.

The band have spent much of the year on the road, the scale of their world tour a testament to the success of their two albums.

Yet there were no signs of fatigue from front woman Florence Welch.

Instead the star - clearly delighted to back on English soil at last - served up a performance that was as rich is energy and enthusiasm as it was her trademark theatricality.

She sprang around the stage, leaping downssteps as though she were a leather-clad rock star.

"I've had a hangover for the last two days but you've made me feel better," she told the crowd.

"This is the ultimate hangover cure. Thank you Coventry."

Florence displayed an equally impressive array of vocal acrobatics, often ending songs with a clarion call that rang around the Ricoh.

The band's second album, Ceremonials, was on heavy rotation.

Opening track Only If For A Night was swiftly followed by What The Water Gave Me, creating a brooding atmosphere for the early exchanges.

Yet it was two singles from debut album Lungs that propelled the show into the stratosphere.

Rabbit Heart met with a rapturous reception, as many female fans climbed onto their boyfriends' shoulders for a better view before slipping quickly back down to dance along to You Got The Love.

All the while Florence twisted and turned, her long limbs entwining as though she were entranced.

The show unfolded against an ever-changing back drop.

Sometimes the series of screens behind the band showed huge pictures of Florence's face as she sang.

At other moments they appeared to stunning stained glass windows.

Florence and the Machine finished their main set with fan favourites Shake It Off and No Light, No Light.

They returned to encore with a stripped back version of Sweet Nothing, the Calvin Harris song for which Florence supplied the vocals.

That was followed by a triumphant canter through their number one single Spectrum (Say My Name) and The Dog Days Are Over.

Florence may have come to the party dressed like a Victorian schoolmistress, but the performance was undoubtedly one of a 21st century icon.

SET LIST | Only If For A Night ||What The Water Gave Me ||Drumming Song ||Cosmic Love ||Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) ||You Got The Love ||Lover To Lover ||Heartlines ||Leave My Body ||Shake It Off ||No Light No Light ||(Encore) Sweet Nothing ||Spectrum (Say My Name) ||Dog


SHIOW TIME: Florence and the Machine at the Ricoh Arena Pictures by Joe Bailey
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 10, 2012
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