Everybody dance now. That was the overriding message from Florence + the Machine (FATM) Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
If we could only dance like Florence Welch.
Celebrating her band's fifth album, this spring's "Dance Fever," the tall, barefoot Brit in the diaphanous layered, white dress leaped and spun with physicality and grace, like a celestial creature sent to free us from personal and societal traumas.
A ginger-haired ballerina with a siren's opulent, stratospheric voice, Welch mesmerized for 110 minutes. Since her 2011 local debut at the Minnesota Zoo, the indie-rock star has exhibited a commanding presence, part goth drama queen, part earth angel, all beguiling, unrelenting force.
It was a riveting performance by Welch of not always compelling music in front of 7,000 fans in the bowl end of the arena.
FATM offered 12 of the 14 tracks from "Dance Fever," which is not about clubbing but about the transformative powers of dance.
Welch has explained that the project was inspired by choreomania, a medieval European practice wherein throngs of people, in order to relieve themselves of stress, danced until they were exhausted, injured or dead.
She even wrote a song called "Choreomania," which she offered Thursday. "Suddenly, I'm dancing to imaginary music," she sang. And she danced — did she ever dance — and darted into the crowd as the Machine sped up the beat.
The ensuing "Kiss With a Fist," a full-tilt rocker from FATM's 2008 debut album, found Welch doing a jittery jig before pogoing in overdrive. This concert featured the most pogoing — onstage and in the crowd — this side of a punk-rock gig.
Between her Titanic vocal explosions, Welch, 36, occasionally spoke in a strikingly soft voice. She pointed out that much of "Dance Fever" was written during the pandemic when her anxiety over never performing again was at its peak. That anxiety was apparent in her conversation, lyrics and nervous energy.
The album, the singer said, is about the "resurrection of dance" as she eased into "My Love" with its banging disco-y beat.
Welch resurrected songs from earlier albums, including the bouncy "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)," the rocking "What Kind of Man" and the galvanizing 2009 hit "Dog Days Are Over," during which she paused and asked the fans to put away their cellphones for a moment and cut loose. They obliged on both counts.
Working on a modest platform decorated with candelabras draped with gauzy white fabric, Welch bounded all over the stage, skipping, scurrying and spinning. A couple of times, she jumped into the pit in front of the stage, and once sprinted through the main floor crowd while singing.
Adding to the drama was the singer's propensity for back lighting, silhouettes on scrims and theatrical gestures with her hands and face, which were as expressive as her singing voice. Meanwhile, her six anonymous musicians stood off to the sides in the shadows, never introduced.
Including so much material from the new album slowed momentum at times, though some of the new numbers, including "Prayer Factory," "Free" and "Choreomania" were among the night's highlights.
For Welch, this fourth gig on FATM's current North American tour was highly emotional and clearly liberating. Her pandemic days are over.
"I'm free when I'm dancing," she proclaimed in the song "Free." Aren't we all?
Byron Buxton is back.
The Twins added the designated hitter to the roster and put Alex Kirilloff on the 10-day injured list before a do-or-die Game 4 in the ALDS against the Houston Astros.
First pitch at sold-out Target Field is 6:07 p.m. (FS1), and the Astros lead the best-of-five series 2-1.
Buxton, who will not start tonight, was left off the wild-card roster because of a nagging knee injury. The 29-year-old has not played in the field at all this season. His right knee has been an issue all year, and it flared up on him when he tried to play in center field in September during a minor-league rehabilitation game with the St. Paul Saints.
An All-Star in 2022, Buxton played only 85 games this season, hitting .207 with 17 home runs.
Kirilloff went 0-for-2 with a strikeout Tuesday in the Twins' 9-1 loss and is 0-for-9 this postseason. He has a shoulder injury that has bothered him during the season as well and put him on the injury list for a time.
The change in the roster had to be approved by the MLB commissioner's office.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said the shoulder injury got to the point where Kirilloff couldn't hit in Game 3; he was pinch-hit for by Donovan Solano, who will start at first base tonight.
Rookie left fielder Matt Wallner, who is 0-for-8 in the playoffs, is also sitting tonight. Michael A. Taylor will play center with Willi Castro moving to left.
Joe Ryan, who has not pitched in the postseason, starts tonight for the Twins against righthander Jose Urquidy, who is also making his 2023 postseason debut.
Jose Altuve, 2B
Alex Bregman, 3B
Yordan Alvarez, DH
Kyle Tucker, RF
Jose Abreu, 1B
Michael Brantley, LF
Chas McCormick, CF
Jeremy Pena, SS
Martin Maldonado, C
Edouard Julien, DH
Jorge Polanco, 2B
Royce Lewis, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Carlos Correa, SS
Ryan Jeffers, C
Willi Castro, LF
Donovan Solano, 1B
Michael A. Taylor, CF