What was great/ what stood out: Observing the sheer number of band members alone is impressive, not to mention the catalogue of instruments they play! They sound amazing live and have the ability to rejuvenate your enjoyment of a song that maybe you had started to tire of (ahem…Reflektor!)
What wasn’t great/what was missing: Nothing major that would deter anyone from going to the show. I had just really hoped they would play “Wake Up” from their debut album, Funeral. I held onto this hope even as the lights were coming on AFTER their encore. It was not to be.
Favourite song/performance: From the new album, “Here Comes the Night”, “Afterlife” and “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)” and because they tugged on my nostalgic heartstrings, “Haiti” and “Power Out (Neighbourhood #3)”
Least favourite song/performance: “Joan of Arc” but that’s just because it’s my least favourite song on the album. I find it too catchy…even though that is a defence I normally employ to justify against my sometimes cringe-worthy taste in cheesy pop! In this case, “Joan of Arc” is just not my cup of tea!
I have always thought (as many have) that bands have the ability to have two or three albums that sound similar and follow a similar formula. Many have fallen to the third/fourth album demise: Oasis and Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, Stereophonics and Just Enough Education to Perform and Kings of Leon and their Only by the Night, to mention just a few. Bands with massive promise that end up unable to ignore their record sales and therefore produce album after album of the formulaic music.
So when Arcade Fire brought out their fourth album Reflektor I was worried. Funeral is one of my favourite albums of all time and Neon Bible was also top draw in my books. The Suburbs was a solid third album but it did suggest more of the same. But Reflektor has rekindled the fire (or Arcade Fire) in my belly. I think it has the ingredients that can turn a great band into a legendary band. So after hearing a few songs from the album I was so excited to land tickets for their concert in London.
The performance was extraordinary, it had drama, musical talent and the fervour that a live show needs. The show started with the catchy and mesmeric Reflektor, inviting the entire audience to cease discussing their fancy dress costume and concentrate fully on the performance. It continued from their, the crowd jumping around in their formal attire or recycled Halloween costumes to the tunes of Joan of Arc, Porno and You Already Know. We were also treated to performances of Power Out and Haiti, which reminded us of the historical quality of the Quebecois band. The show never ceased to draw you in and the inevitable encore gave us Sprawl II and Supersymmetry. I must admit that a more livelier ending song would have left me with that ring in my ear that would have left me buzzing all the way home. However, I was left with the feeling that only a gig can produce. If you can catch them on their tour, I recommend making a beeline to wherever you can see them, you won’t be disappointed!