It wasn’t until the band loosened up with the jazz-infused “Haiti” that the crowd realized it was okay to dance in an amphitheatre and lip-synch in Franglais. Credit goes to Régine Chassagne, whose impromptu dance moves and infectious joy filtered through the crowd and invigorated the performance. It didn’t take Win Butler and the rest of the band long to follow suit, breaking into the cathartic “Intervention” and showcasing Neon Bible’s trademark gothic organ.
Once the band moved into more familiar territory from their first album such as the anthemic “Rebellion (Lies)” and an impressively upbeat rendition of “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” the audience was fully engrossed in the band’s enthralling, apocalyptic spectacle.
All the familiar theatricality was on display as well. Butler and his band traipsed around the stage swapping accordions, drum sets and hurdy-gurdies alike to form a synergetic whole. What’s always incredible about Arcade Fire is their ability to layer fractious elements and yet feed off one another and remain an undivided organism, shouting, sweating and strumming to the point of collective epiphany. And even in a venue as gigantic and impersonal as the Hollywood Bowl, it was downright impossible to resist partaking in that kind of fervor.