“Um, is that a dude sitting on another dude’s shoulders?”
“Win Butler, come on down! You’re the next contestant on ‘The Price Is Right.’”
Three statements you would probably never hear uttered simultaneously unless you were at this show. It was the last song of Arcade Fire’s main set before the encore, and the entire venue was in an uproar.
The band was in the final throes of “Rebellion (Lies)” off of its 2004 debut, Funeral. Each member flailed about the stage in blissful, aural ecstasy with their instrument, whether it was a guitar, violin or aforementioned French horn.
The audience, which included Drew Barrymore and Spike Jonze, was on its feet. Some passionate fans were even perched upon each other in the pit. And yes, there was even a dude sitting on another dude’s shoulders – the likes of which I have definitely never seen before.
Leading the entire musical celebration was the swaggering Arcade Fire frontman, Win Butler, who jumped off the stage to wander the depths of the Greek’s capacity crowd. Prior to beginning “Rebellion (Lies),” Butler detailed the group’s touristy adventure in Hollywood. The Canadian indie rockers journeyed to a taping of “The Price Is Right.”
So, as Butler was navigating through the nether regions of the theater, his brother (and fellow band mate), Will, called him back to the stage with the famous line from the game show: “Win Butler, come on down! You’re the next contestant on ‘The Price Is Right.’” The entire night was full of frenzied excitement from the get go. I spied a massive pipe organ sitting ominously stage right. As the musicians warmed up, it felt like we were waiting to watch an orchestra perform. Even the full moon seemed to glow with anticipation.
Then, the band broke into “Keep the Car Running” and the explosive first single, “Black Mirror,” from its newest CD, Neon Bible, and all hell broke loose. The energy built through “No Cars Go,” “Haiti” and “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)” before Butler slowed things down by leaving the stage.
A “fake Win” was placed center stage in his place. Butler sang the lyrics of “My Body Is a Cage” from off stage while the faceless cardboard cutout stood motionless at his mic. Towards the end of the song, Butler’s face as he sang was projected onto the form’s visage, making it seem like a ghost was singing the song.
Butler returned to the stage for a “song we don’t perform that much,” “Cold Wind,” the exclusive track from the HBO series “Six Feet Under.” Next was one of my favorites from Neon Bible, “Intervention” (the ominous organ was utilized wonderfully here), followed by the incredibly moving “Antichrist Television Blues.”
This particular tune encapsulated the entire appeal of Arcade Fire. The band successfully layers so many textures of sound upon each other, while making beautifully harmonic music. Even the wails of Régine Chassagne into a megaphone become gorgeous when blended into “Antichrist’s” musical landscape.
The group closed the evening with two anthemic gems. The sing-along chorus of “The Well and the Lighthouse” and powerful words of “Wake Up” made for a glorious end to a completely magical evening.