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Arcade Fire

(18 Mar 2014: Arena at Harbor Yard — Bridgeport, CT)

Arcade Fire flummoxed a lot of people last year when their first show in New York as alter-ego, bobble-head band the Reflektors had a major fake out at the beginning—the initial stage visible proved to be a decoy. However, it was at this same show that the band requested attendees to dress in formal attire or costume, which they whole-heartedly did, even if they were later outraged by the stage stunt.


On their 2014 arena tour, Arcade Fire again asked fans to dress up for the gigs, but fortunately, avoided pulling the stage trick on them again. But they did incorporate a second platform stage during the show and they also performed a cover song by a notable local act—Prince in Minneapolis, Boyz II Men in Philadelphia and John Mayer, well almost, in Connecticut. Including the photo booth and the mariachi band outside the arena floor, plus an after-party of sorts, these moments were only icing on the cake at Arcade Fire’s extravaganza.


Following DJ sets by Kid Koala and Dan Deacon on the second stage at the rear of the floor, the guests, some in formal attire, penguin costumes or Carnival masks didn’t have long to wait as Arcade Fire prepped behind a curtain on the main stage. When the curtain dropped, the epic opening number “Reflektor” kicked off Arcade Fire’s true party.


The band only performed one song from Neon Bible, but incorporated the newer more rhythmic material with older torch-bearers to create a 100-minute set that was both dance friendly and allowed for unabashed rock head-banging. The Haitian influence, as well as that of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, is the basis of The Reflektor material and “We Exist”, “Afterlife” and “Here Comes the Night Time” all glimmered brightly. “Neighborhood #3”, “Sprawl II” and “Wake Up” are each epics in their own right and with the latter being the finale on this tour. If you are looking for a ton off of Funeral, that bombastic era of Arcade Fire has been set aside (for now?).


As mentioned, Arcade Fire had been doing unique covers on each tour night, and while they did incorporate Prince’s “Controversy” into this show, it might have been because they had failed to come up with a notable Connecticut act to cover. After the set break, the bobbleheaded Reflektors took to the second stage as John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland” came on over the PA. But it wasn’t a live rendition; the real Arcade Fire interrupted the sham act from the main stage asking why they weren’t playing Hatebreed instead. Win Butler even mentioned a dream of his in which he met John Mayer and the guitarist tells him he doesn’t like Butler’s playing, to which dream Butler replies the same.


As far as the show went, it was a grand experience and one with something for everyone. Even though all are invited to the party (if you pay the ticket price), you have to just enjoy yourself, even if that means missing out on some antics or taking in the scene with your own eyes. If you surrounded the fake stage at the break anticipating antics—you got the Mayer “cover” but may have missed the real band and Butler’s dream story. During “It’s Never Over” if you looked at Regine Chassagne and the skeleton on the second stage, you lost the experience of the main stage but unlike in Orpheus’s tale, this lady returned to the main stage (“Supersymmetry” allowed some of the band to split off and perform on the second stage too). Put your camera phones away and savor the moment—lest Butler take your phone and make random calls on it (as he did with one furry’s phone in Bridgeport). And don’t be shy, given their last full tour was a couple years ago, you ought to celebrate with Arcade Fire now.


[PS - Bridgeport’s Arena hardly ever gets bands as far as I remember, its more a place to catch skating, the circus or other affairs, so it was great to see a band of Arcade Fire’s caliber perform there. Unfortunately, post-show, one of the bobble-head masks was stolen, which hopefully doesn’t put a damper on the band’s tour or the future plans of a band wishing to perform in the city.]


View a larger gallery of high res images over at Facebook!


 


Setlist

Reflektor
Flashbulb Eyes
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Rebellion (Lies)
Joan of Arc
The Suburbs
The Suburbs (Continued)
Ready to Start
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
We Exist
No Cars Go
Haïti
Afterlife
It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Supersymmetry
[break]
Iko Iko (The Dixie Cups) / Your Body is a Wonderland (Joke John Mayer cover) – for “The Reflektors”
Normal Person
Controversy (Prince)
Here Comes the Night Time
Wake Up


Tour Dates

03/28 – Mexico City, MX @ Vive Latino
03/29 – Santiago, CL @ Lollapalooza Chile
04/01 – Bueno Aires, AR @ Lollapalooza Argentina
04/06 – Sao Paulo, BR @ Lollapalooza Brazil
04/09 – Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
04/10 – Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater
04/13 – Indio, CA @ Coachella Music and Arts Festival
04/20 – Indio, CA @ Coachella Music and Arts Festival
04/23 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
04/26 – Kansas City, MO @ Starlight Theatre
04/27 – St. Louis, MO @ Verizone Wireless Amphitheater
04/29 – Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
05/01 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
05/02 – Atlanta, GA @ Aaron’s Amphiteatre at Lakewood
05/04 – New Orleans, LA @ New Orleans Jazz Fest
05/29-31 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
05/31 – Lisbon, PT @ Rock in Rio
06/03 – Paris, FR @ Zenith
06/06 – London, UK @ Earls Court
06/07 – London, UK @ Earls Court
06/09 – Landgraaf Megaland, NL @ Pinkpop Festival
06/10 – Antwerp, BE @ Sportpaleis
06/12 – Oslo, NO @ Norwegian Wood
06/15 – Aarhus, DK NorthSide Festival
06/17 – Dresden, DE @ Junge Garde
06/20 – Neuhausen, DE @ Southside Festival
06/21 – Scheessel, DE @ Hurricane Festival
06/23 – Rome, IT @ Rock in Roma
06/25-29 – Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival
06/24 – Verona, IT @ Villafranca
06/29 – Dublin, IE @ Marlay Park
07/30 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
08/08 – George, WA @ Gorge Amphitheatre
08/11 – Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
08/12 – Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome
08/14 – Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre
08/17 – Washington, DC @ Verizon Centre
08/19 – Boston, MA @ Comcast Center
08/20 – Bangor, ME @ Waterfront Pavilion
08/22 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
08/23 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
08/24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
08/26 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
08/27 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
08/29 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Ampitheatre
08/30 – Montreal, QC @ Parc Jean-Drapea

Sachyn Mital can be reached at mital () popmatters dot com. He is based in New York where he serves as a Contributing Editor and an events photographer for PopMatters. If you prefer to communicate in 140 characters or less, you can try @sachynsuch. Visit his site sachynmital.com while you're at it.


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