ARCADE FIRE and Calexico – The View From The Front Row

It was easy to be swept up in the Arcade Fire PR machine when The Suburbs was released. It was also easy for a few of us to become a bit cynical. “Yeah, but I saw them YEARS ago, when there were only 400 people…before all these CHILDREN AT THE SHOWS WERE BORN, practically, now they’re just a great big marketing machine gripe gripe grumble.”

But last night, Arcade Fire reminded us why they’re as good as they are: they play edgy, busy, alternative rock music that works on a GRAND scale. It works in a small club, it works in a big bucket warehouse. It just works. And I was lucky, along with my gig buddy and partner in crime Peter Leung (who took these amazing pictures after I left my camera battery at home), to watch them last night from the front row. It felt like a private stadium show, almost, with Quebec’s finest.

The set?
Heavily weighted to the new stuff. Energized. Excitable. Check the setlist in the photos to see the full rundown.

The comments?
Lead singer Win Butler talked about how Vancouver is “a sister city to us”, that “you get back what you give, and you guys have been fucking amazing,” and talked about how one dollar from every ticket on this tour will go to support a rebuilding initiative organization in Haiti, Kanpe, which, “for a big show like this, kind of blows my mind, so thank you.” Oh and he also weighed in on politics, even though, Butler said he was American and probably shouldn’t. “But I’ve been living in Canada for 10 years” he remarked, from the stage, and in a nod to British Columbian’s engagement and grassroots interest in politics, he said that he’d heard that Prime Minister Stephen Harper wanted to pull back on foreign aid, and that “you guys can’t let that happen.” Cue massive boos at the mention of Harper, and cheers at the rest.

The music?
Stellar. The band has always been amazing since the days of those 400- (or 40-) person shows. They work hard. They’re sincere. They pour sweat into everything they’ve got and they had everyone in the bleachers standing. Arcade Fire, you deserved your Number Ones. Félicitations, long may you reign. \m/

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