Live review: Florence + the Machine, Summer Sessions, Edinburgh, Wed 7 Aug (4 stars)

Florence + the Machine

credit: Euan Robertson

Indie rock goddess Florence Welch delivers a graceful, transcendent performance at the first of the season's Summer Sessions

Heavy rain, thunder and lightning threatened to jeopardise Florence + the Machine's first of two highly anticipated outdoor gigs at Princes Street Gardens, but luckily the weather turned just in time and the show went ahead. With Edinburgh Castle as the picture-perfect backdrop, Florence Welch walks out onstage wearing a flowy blue frock and immediately launches into 'June' from her latest album, 2018's High Hopes. 'Hold onto each other' she repeats. It's a simple, powerful message that is prominent throughout her captivating, spiritual performance.

After the upbeat hits 'Hunger' and 'Ship to Wreck', she dedicates the haunting 'Only If For a Night' to her late Scottish grandmother and asks the crowd to raise a glass of gin for her (because 'she loved gin'). Welch is in top-form, hitting all the high notes and putting on a theatrical display, gracefully dancing across the stage and dramatically flipping her hair as well-timed fireworks light up the sky above the castle.

Midway through crowd-pleaser 'Dog Days Are Over', Welch asks everyone to put their phones away because 'we are trying to have a collective experience'. Most follow her instructions and it allows for a rare intimate moment between artist and fans. 'Thank you for keeping these songs safe for ten years,' she says before performing 'Cosmic Love'. Welch, who has been open about her struggles with depression and alcohol, shares that she believes her fans saved her life. 'I see you, I love you,' she tells us, visibly genuine and grateful.

She runs down to the front barrier for 'Delilah' and lets adoring fans hold her up. Although she loses the crowd occasionally during some slower numbers ('Big God'), she finishes on a high-note with 'Shake it Out', asking the audience to act as her choir and they happily oblige. We see you Florence, we love you.

Summer Sessions, Princes Street Gardens, 8 Aug, 6pm, £52.50. Reviewed at 7 Aug concert.

Florence and The Machine, Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens

Florence + the Machine in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens.