This last March, 17th was an important day for me as I attended an Arcade Fire show for the first time. This band is one of my favorite band but is also the only band I had many troubles to see live. Bad luck for me, this is also one of the best live bands on earth according to many music magazines and critics.
By the way, if you don’t know them, Arcade Fire is an indie rock band from Montreal which includes seven members (with even more musicians on stage for they play tons of different instruments). But also if you don’t know them, go listen to their music as soon as possible; their four albums are masterpieces, each in its own way.
First, for you to understand my frustration, here is a sum up of why I couldn’t see them before. I was going to see them in 2011 but I got measles. Then, last November, they played a secret costume show in Paris but I was at a very good friend’s birthday party and the tickets were impossible to get anyway. Finally, they are on tour right now but basically, they are playing in Paris when I am in NYC and they are playing in NYC when I am in Paris. Therefore, when I saw that they were playing in Philadelphia during Spring Break I thought there was no way I could miss that. So here I was, last Monday, travelling to Philly by myself, only to finally see Arcade Fire. It was quite an adventure but it was truly worth it.
However, I wasn’t able to get a General Admission ticket so I had to see the show from very far. Though, this was the only inconvenient (besides the fact that I was alone, but that is not a problem for me when I really want to see a band). It was a costume show so the atmosphere was set up right away.
I actually knew one of the opening artists for I attended his show in Paris last year: Dan Deacon. Trust me, when this guy goes somewhere he brings a huge party with him. By making dance contest, “high five wall of death”, human tunnels and playing his great music he successfully done his job of warming up the audience. The room set up (special stage for opening artists) made the wait for Arcade Fire less long than usual.
Here they were, on the stage in the middle of the pit. I was so moved that during the intro and the first song I was actually trembling; I was finally seeing them for real and living my favorites songs live.
It didn’t take long before people got in the mood and start dancing on their old and recent tracks like “Flashbulb Eyes” and “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”. This last one is actually one of my favorite songs for it is so powerful (ironically) and the rhythm is mad. They were greeting and embarking their audience a little more with every song that was on the perfect setlist of this night. All the songs were picked up almost equally from each album, apart from “Neon Bible” their second one, and I didn’t feel like a song was terribly missing; it was coherent and perfectly harmonious. As I expected, I cried on a few songs, like “Rebellion (Lies)” and “No Cars Go”, for there are emotionally intense songs to me and I had been waiting so long to finally hear them live.
At one moment of the show, Win, the singer, declared “We live in a world where a lot of people don’t realize that people are born with different sexualities” and then they started to play one of their new songs called “We Exist”. Amazing. I went crazy when they intoned the first notes of “Afterlife”; when I’m listening to this song on my iPod it always makes me want to start dancing and screaming in the street and I finally could do it! I think one of the key parts of the show was when they played “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” because in this song, inspired of course by the Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the two singers, Régine and Win, are replying to each other. To create this even more, they were on different stages and I thought it worked so well.
The end of the night was definitely dedicated to dance and to leave the audience on a festive mood with songs like “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”, “Normal Person” and the brilliant “Here Comes the Night Time” inspired by Haitian music. To wrap up everything in the most perfect way, their hit song “Wake Up” from their very first album was played and created a huge harmony between the band and us as we were almost like their official choir.
I can’t believe that I can finally say “I’ve seen Arcade Fire live”. It was such an intense night for me. They truly deserve their reputation of “one of the best live bands”. I don’t know when I am going to be able to see them again but I can’t wait.