All hail the drama queen!
Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine brought all her sumptuous theatricality to bear when she played the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday.
Her throaty voice swirled like mist and then twisted and built into a hurricane. She whispered. She wailed. She created the aural equivalent of a swoon.
Welch brought that ethereal mood to her every stage move. She used her hands with dancer-like eloquence. She imbued faraway gazes with a haunted air.
And a rock star is nothing without an evocative wardrobe. Welch began the evening draped in a voluminous black cape, which, naturally, she worked as a glamorous stage prop. She grabbed the sides and threw them back, as if they were butterfly wings. She twirled like a dervish, sending the fabric spinning outward.
The tendrils of her hair that escaped from a loose bun fluttered in the wind machine's breeze. (Every diva needs a wind machine, no?)
A few songs into her set, Welch dropped the cape to reveal a diaphanous black dress that billowed beautifully.
She dropped, too, the somber tone and began smiling. She moved - in a way that was part skipping and part galloping - across the stage, in bare feet.
The 80-minute set leaned heavily on her 2011 "Ceremonials" CD. Ten out of the 13 songs, in fact, were culled from there. Personal preference note: I'm a bigger fan of Florence's 2009 debut "Lungs" and would have loved more from that release.
But her inimitable style of music - you could call it indie pop rock, or baroque rock, or gothic rock, fueled by lyrics that tend to explore tortured romance - proved itself arena ready.
The concert propelled itself powerfully from "Only If For a Night" at the outset through "Never Let Me Go" and "No Light, No Light" for the encore.
The best one-two-punch had to have been "Shake It Out" and "Dog Days Are Over," which provided a perfect up-tempo union to wrap the main part of the set.
The band - complete with a huge harp - was wonderful, even if it tended to stay in the (almost literal) shadows.
At one point, Welch told the crowd, "I think this is the biggest venue on this tour. Thank you so much for being here."
And the jazzed crowd seemed more than happy to be there.
Now comes the time to discuss the opener. It was a one-man act named Blood Orange. When the most memorable thing about a performance is the odd videos - he played excerpts from "Grease 2," for crying out loud! - then the less said, the better.