Review: Arcade Fire @ Radio City Music Hall

Set:Keep the Car Running/No Cars Go/Haiti/Black Mirror/Laika/In the Backseat/My Body is a Cage/Ocean of Noise/Tunnels/The Well and the Lighthouse/Antichrist Television Blues/Power Out/Rebellion
Encore: Intervention/Wake up

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It’s been some time since I last saw Arcade Fire, standing in the middle of a Las Vegas field with thousands of others at the Vegoose Music Festival watching the band live up to the hype with each passing moment. That was October of 2005, and since that time the band put together an exciting and studious follow up to Funeral, with the release of Neon Bible earlier this year.

Wednesday night’s performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York kicked off the beginning of the High Line Festival, which is curated by David Bowie, who, despite the buzz and speculation, made no surprise appearance (though we did run into the Polyphonic Spree’s Tim DeLaughter in the lobby). Drawing from both releases, the band proved to the sold out crowd that they were not only worthy of the stage they graced over the course of the evening, but deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the other great live performances of this generation.

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It’s no doubt that my excitement and writing provides you with nothing you haven’t read a thousand times before – the group is legit and you’ll continue to hear and read the same things as long as they’re playing music I’m sure. The evening brought back the urgency that I used to see so much growing up and going to rock and roll shows. Throughout the night band members darted into the crowd to play and interact, providing an intimate touch in such a large venue. Win Butler repeatedly begged the audience to come closer, much to the chagrin to the limited security and those who listened to him and were kicked out.

Highlights were a gorgeous version of “In The Backseat,” which, for the first time, found me enjoying the song. The haunting “My Body Is A Cage,” featured Win Butler on organ, and “Antichrist Television Blues” is exactly as frantic and enjoyable as I’d always imagined it would be while listening to the record. Of course there were the Funeral highlights as well. It really goes without saying now that you’ll always enjoy and hold a spot in your heart for songs like “Wake up,” and “Neighborhood #2 (Laika).” “Rebellion (Lies)”closed down the set with Win singing on a chair in the audience, and concluded with the band exiting the stage as the crowd continued to sing and hum the vocal parts until the band returned for the encore.

For me, Wednesday night’s performance was all about Neon Bible and allowing me to fall in love with these songs in a whole new way. It’s a wonderful feeling to be standing in the balcony as a band performs newer material and the crowd is so into it that you can actually feel the foundation beneath you shake.

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Going into tonight’s performance I had every intention of skipping one of the upcoming Chicago shows because I figured seeing the band once this tour would be enough. Now, as I listen to Neon Bible on my ipod in my hotel room in New York where I am for the first time, and rapidly journalizing the memories that are only about an hour old, I’m sure I’ll be there.

Myspace: Arcade Fire
MP3: Arcade Fire – Black Mirror