IfI could have it back, all the time we wasted, I’d only waste it again watching Arcade Fire.
Thursday July 30th saw Montreal’s finest play an incendiary set in Hyde Park. 60,000 people packed in to see Win Butler and co give it all, a powerful gig full of emotional that whipped the crowd into something resembling religious fervour.
Kicking off with Ready To Start, the setlist was a blend of old favourites and tracks from 2010 album The Suburbs. Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out), Wake Up and Keep, The Car Running all sounded as vital as ever, but The Suburbs, Month Of May and in particular We Used To Wait all sound like future anthems.
The band were joined on stage by long-time collaborator and ex-band member Owen Pallett and it was he that opened up the whole event with his new solo project. Formerly known as Final Fantasy, now just simply under his own name, Pallett’s hauntingly orchestral violin-led set sent shivers down the spine.
Following him was much-hyped indie kids The Vaccines who got the crowd up and dancing. They ripped through their debut album at breakneck speed and left the crowd wanting more. Tracks such as Norgaard, Wreckin’ Bar and Do You Wanna sound like classics waiting to happen. Support also came from Beirut, best described as the Arcade Fire of world music, complex but chilled arrangements perfect for a sunny afternoon in the park.
Mumford and Sons completed the line up of support and received a rapturous reception from their adoring fans. This was their last appearance before returning to the studio to start work on the follow up to Sigh No More. Some have accused their sound of lacking heart, soul and vision, but the Hyde Park crowd lapped them up adoringly, securing their position as one of the biggest British bands around today.
There was no mistaking the real object of the fans’ affection though, and Arcade Fire are fast becoming the defining band of a generation. They treated us to new song ‘Speaking In Tongues’ and with that gave hope that this band have plenty more to give.
The most impressive thing about Arcade Fire is how proficient the band are on so many different instruments. Guitarist Richard Reed Parry switched onto drums, keyboards and even a megaphone, Regine Chassagne moved between piano, drums, accordian and hurdy-gurdy and even drummer Jeremy Gara left his kit to move to piano and guitar.
Arcade Fire are a band to fall in live with, a band to dedicate your life to. They affirm life, give us hope in a troubled age and prove unequivocally that music can change the world.