Monday, December 27, 2010

Arcade Fire at the Shrine, 10/7/10

I am what you could charitably call 'particular' (picky, fastidious, fussy all work as well) when it comes to my concert-going experience.  I don't need to be front and center, but I do want to be close enough to see and hear the music in the way it's meant to be.  The last time I had seen Arcade Fire, I left extremely disgruntled because of the poor seat I had at the Greek, off in the top row of the wings of the theatre, a place where sound goes to be distorted by the wind.  My tickets for the Shrine were nosebleeders as well, so I was worried about a repeat performance.  However, the band delivered a set that made me forget just how far away they were.

As you'll read about soon, The Suburbs is one of my favorite albums of this year, and I claimed Funeral as my favorite of the previous ten years, so I came expecting a lot.  And the band delivered it handily, even while dealing with occasional bouts of sloppiness.  The most notable was during the end of the main set, when lead singer Win Butler was so focused on being amongst the crowd that he lost his place in "Rebellion (Lies)," to the amusement of his bandmates.  But even with that and a couple other missteps, it was a passionate, emotional night.  Opening with the appropriately-titled "Ready to Start" and then going into "Month of May," the Arcade Fire equivalent of a punk song, Butler and company cranked the energy up high.

Though they didn't play much from their second album, Neon Bible, it was still an excellent set, including new favorites such as "Deep Blue" and "Modern Man," and old ones like "Crown of Love" and "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)."  Kings of Leon, of all bands, recently made some very thinly veiled comments about the manic energy of the band's live show being contrived, and a good friend of mine made a similar--though less harsh--comment after seeing them, but I think it's a cynical reading of their approach.  They are nothing if not sincere, both in their lyrics and their music, so why wouldn't their apparent joy be real as well?  I know mine in their presence always is.

Setlist:  Ready to Start / Month of May / Neighborhood #2 (Laika) / No Cars Go / Haiti / Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) / Modern Man / Rococo / The Suburbs / The Suburbs (Continued) / Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) / Crown of Love / Deep Blue / Intervention / We Used To Wait / Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) / Rebellion (Lies)

Encore: Keep The Car Running / Wake Up

Photo by Kelly A. Swift, OC Register

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