Jan 23, 2008

Arcade Fire @ Enmore Theatre

I did not attend a concert Tuesday night at the Enmore Theatre. No, it was something much more then that. This wasn't just a touring band playing much loved songs. It was a celebration of music, a time of rejoicing, of living, of breathing. Of experiencing. A smile appeared on my face from the opening strains of "Wake Up" and continued to get wider and wider until my face simply hurt. With pleasure, undeniable pleasure. That in a nutshell, is an Arcade Fire show. Please leave any cynicism at the door, just bring your heart and body, soul and mind, and have the time of your life. I certainly did, fun was the only option on this Tuesday night.

Arcade Fire, you had me at "Wake Up". This pounding, thumping, shuddering song that unites the Indie nation shattered the walls and lifted the roof. That is what I would call a good opener. What followed was an exercise in ecstasy, a show of strength, a display of delirium. If I gush, please forgive me. The planets have aligned this week, the stars are in place and my head is spinning. With joy, unbridled joy, endless exultation, sweet rapture. Oh, sweet rapture. The set list was close to perfect, in content and in order. I can't really complain. At all. So many highpoints, so many memories to take away with me. "No Cars Go" was a whirlwind, its momentous buildup just exploded into life, its violin passages crashing maniacally from the stage. "Haiti" was a sheer delight, Regine's singing soft and light, sweet and tender. The middle section was a welcome comedown after the frenetic start. "Neon Bible" was light and lilting and their cover of New Order's "Age of Consent" was charm personified. "Tunnels" then upped the ante. I think it was quite possibly the highlight of the night. Its anthemic qualities tore the venue apart. I think I lost my voice at this point. There was no let up after this. Full steam ahead to the finish. "Antichrist Television Blues" had the place heaving as Win Butler took a leap into the delirious crowd, whilst the two song knockout finish "Power Out" and "Rebellion (Lies") was explosive to say the least. As I was trying to snap photos the floor was literally shaking. Something I will never forget. Then the encore of "Intervention" and "Laika" was pitch perfect and a distinctly superlative way to finish the night.

If I could take one thing away from the night, amongst many, was feeling and seeing and hearing the tangible connection between the band and the crowd. There was so much love in the audience, people were living each and every song. Not just because they are such great songs, but because this band plays with so much life and energy. They throw themselves into every song, leaving nothing behind. And the happiness they derive is self evident. Arcade Fire actually have fun on stage, smiling and dancing, running and jumping, shouting and giving. Giving until they have nothing left to give. Win Butler holds the whole thing together. Call him the conductor if you like, Regine Chassagne saunters and struts, her smile totally infectious. Sarah Neufeld and Marika Anthony-Shaw are frenetic violinists, whilst Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara are consummate musicians, delivering the right note every time. But without doubt the glue guys are Will Butler and Richard Reed Parry. Parry is everywhere, playing all sorts of instruments and then sometimes playing the maniac. Speaking of maniacs, I do believe Will Butler is one. He just never stops, running everywhere at a suicidal pace and if not playing an instrument (expertly) he is banging on anything he can find. The man is an energiser bunny. This was a night to never forget, a night of hedonistic fun and unstoppable jubilation. It was a night that Sydney hugged the life out of Arcade Fire and Arcade Fire responded by squeezing the spirit out of all of us lucky enough to be there.

I have some more photos of the night at Flickr.
But there are much better ones here and here.

Set List
Wake Up
Keep The Car Running
Black Mirror
No Cars Go
Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
Neon Bible
Age Of Consent
Ocean Of Noise
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
The Well And The Lighthouse
Headlights Look Like Diamonds
(Antichrist Television Blues)
Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
Rebellion (Lies)

Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)


  • At January 23, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Excellent review that encapsulated the sheer joy and exuberance of the night. Will Butler's enthusiasm and liveliness was in itself one of the highlights for me.

  • At January 23, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Nice photos Wayne.
    A bloke near us was grabbed by a bouncer for taking footage with a rather Large camera - still it was karma as he pushed into the front of the lengthy bar queue before the gig started.

    It was a great gig - the opening was spectacular..

  • At January 23, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wayne - sounds like a great night! I'll just have a cry here that I didn't get my act together fast enough to buy tickets and make a trip to Sydney.

    Next time! (Hopefully not too far down the track).

  • At January 26, 2008 , Blogger Unknown said...

    i don't think i've experienced anything as good as that (and their bdo performance) ever.. front row, absolutely amazing, i got the set list as well, will post about it soonish.

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