Arcade Fire…

In 2008 I was sitting on the grass in front of the Orange Stage at the Big Day Out with my friends. We were listening to a band we couldn’t see and none of us had a program on us. The days of festival apps were not yet upon us so we had to guess who it was that was playing. I recognised a song, and another, and another until it finally clicked that we were watching Arcade Fire. Wait…Arcade Fire. Holy hell, I was watching Arcade Fire! And they were simply amazing.

That gig, to this day, is one of my top two of all time and because of it Arcade Fire became one of my favourite bands.

Throughout the following years they released The Suburbs, didn’t tour Australia to promote it, and their significance in my life grew considerably bigger (see Reflektor (Act 1)). When they finally returned to our shores in 2014 for the Big Day Out and a handful of side-shows shortly after the Reflektor LP was released I was lucky enough to attend as both a manic fan and writer for AMH Network. Below is my review of their Sydney side-show performance.

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Arcade Fire

Canada’s Arcade Fire graced the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Tuesday 28 January 2014 in their second and final Big Day Out sideshow.

Having been primed for the main event by Diplo, the near capacity crowd were completely prepared for the emergence of Arcade Fire on the stage, but on the stage is not where they appeared. Instead Win Butler, Regine Chassange and Owen Pallett introduced the show from the crowd with a fragment from My Body Is a Cage from their 2007 critically acclaimed album, Neon Bible. The crowd erupted as they traversed onto the stage and launched into Reflektor.

With the customary ten piece touring line up on stage, Arcade Fire flawlessly manoeuvred from song to song initially with minimal banter; their familiarity highlighting their comfort with each other and personifying professionalism without the added ego so many bands of their calibre exhibit.

The 19 song set, including encore, encompassed songs from each of the bands four LP’s ensuring fans, both old and new, were left beaming. In fact, they were not only beaming, but they were on their feet cheering and dancing for the entire set. This enthusiasm spread to the stage as every member of the ensemble brought their A game to Sydney that night.

Arcade Fire looked as though they were having the time of their lives up on that stage. They looked like they wanted to be there. This in turn pumped up the crowd even more turning a little ‘ol rock concert into a veritable love-in with the emphasis being on fantastic music as opposed to sex.

The band’s focus was clearly on the music. The set was unassuming ensuring distractions were kept to a minimum. Even the bobble head prop they had become known for via Reflektor only made one appearance throughout the night—during the band’s homage to one of Australia’s greatest exports, INXS, as they covered Devil Inside towards the end of the main set. The inclusion of this into the set list served to send the crowd into an even bigger frenzy then they already were in. This frenzy was monopolised by dropping Here Comes the Night Time immediately afterwards officially ending the main set and quite literally causing chaos within the Entertainment Centre.

After a short interlude they returned to finish the night off with the motivational Ready to Start and ended their epic night with Wake Up that was compounded by a magnificent confetti bomb that engulfed the venue and every punter in it.

After a six-year absence from touring Australia, the 2008 Big Day Out being their previous performance here, Arcade Fire made up for omitting us from their The Suburbs tour with this one show alone. Quintessential performers, raw and real, they came, they delivered and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

4 1/2 stars

The Suburbs…

In the suburbs I
I learned to drive
And you told me we’d never survive
Grab your mother’s keys we’re leavin’

You always seemed so sure
That one day we’d be fighting
In a suburban war
Your part of town against mine
I saw you standing on the opposite shore

But by the time the first bombs fell
We were already bored
We were already, already bored

Sometimes I can’t believe it
I’m movin’ past the feeling
Sometimes I can’t believe it
I’m movin’ past the feeling again

Kids wanna be so hard
But in my dreams we’re still screamin’ and runnin’ through the yard
And all of the walls that they built in the seventies finally fall
And all of the houses they built in the seventies finally fall
Meant nothin’ at all
Meant nothin’ at all
It meant nothin

Sometimes I can’t believe it
I’m movin’ past the feeling
Sometimes I can’t believe it
I’m movin’ past the feeling and into the night

So can you understand?
Why I want a daughter while I’m still young
I wanna hold her hand
And show her some beauty
Before all this damage is done

But if it’s too much to ask, it’s too much to ask
Then send me a son

Under the overpass
In the parking lot we’re still waiting
It’s already past
So move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass
Cause it’s already past
It’s already, already past

Sometimes I can’t believe it
I’m movin’ past the feeling
Sometimes I can’t believe it
I’m movin’ past the feeling again

In my dreams we’re still screamin’
We’re still screamin’
We’re still screamin’

~ Arcade Fire: The Suburbs ~

Rebellion (Lies)…

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 Sleeping is giving in
No matter what the time is
Sleeping is giving in
So lift those heavy eyelids

People say that you’ll die
Faster than without water
But we know it’s just a lie
Scare your son and scare your daughter

People say that your dreams are the only things that save ya
Come on baby in our dreams, we can live our misbehaviour

Every time you close your eyes (Lies, lies)
Every time you close your eyes

People try and hide the night
Underneath the covers
People try and hide the light
Underneath the covers
Come on hide your lovers, underneath the covers
Hidin’ from your brothers, underneath the covers
Come on hide your lovers underneath the covers

People say that you’ll die
Faster than without water
But we know it’s just a lie
Scare your son and scare your daughter

Now here’s the sun, it’s alright! (Lies, lies)
Now here’s the moon, it’s alright! (Lies, lies)

Every time you close your eyes (Lies, lies)

Every time you close your eyes

~ Arcade Fire: Rebellion (Lies) ~