When the first four songs of the set are powerful enough to close the set, you know you're in for something special.
Just a few months ago, the Arcade Fire seemed pensive and unsure on stage as they tried to get comfortable with their new songs. Last night, the band played with complete confidence, which allowed them to play with the energy and emotion that has made them so beloved to begin with.
Starting with "Black Mirror," "No Cars Go." "Haiti" and "Wake Up," the band (10 members strong) raced from instrument to instrument, quickly breaking sweats and tambourines in the process.
But as they continued to click off their most powerful songs, "Power Out," "Intervention," "Rebellion (Lies)," "Tunnels," it became clear that the climax of the show would be something completely different.
Instead of a blowout, they showcased some of the best bottled-up songs off "Neon Bible," ... "Keep the Car Running," then "The Well and the Lighthouse," and finally the title track.
One of the biggest surprises of the show was how well frontman Win Butler's multi-instrumentalist wife, Regine, commanded the stage. She was a solo artist before the band formed, but last night, as she moved from the side of the stage to the front to the drum kit and back again, she proved to be a true rock star.
There were so many moments in the set that produced the kind of raw, reflexive emotion that made us music fans in the first place. The music, instead of tradition, brought people out of their seats.
Most of the things people yell at concerts are annoying at best, but last night someone summed up the whole crowd's feeling about halfway through the show: "play forever."
The set list:
Black Mirror, No Cars Go, Haiti, Wake Up, My Body is a Cage, Neighborhood #2 (Laika), Intervention, Ocean of Noise, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), Rebellion (Lies), Antichrist Television Blues, Keep the Car Running
Encore: The Well and the Lighthouse
Encore 2: Neon Bible
A couple of side notes from the show: Win announced that a dollar from each ticket was going to a clinic in Haiti that provided free medical care. He also shed some light on the nearly unknown opener, Cass McCombs. He said Arcade Fire used to open for McCombs in Montreal, so this was a way to show some love for him. An extremely cool way, indeed.