I think we can all agree that the show as a whole, with all the opening acts and the massive stage and sound set-up, was one for the ages. It was some kind of super-gigantic spectacle of live rock music. It was the Monsters of Rock tour for the hipster generation. We will all remember the show and the colossal pain in the ass getting there and getting out. More on that later.
The setlist, a little different from their previous shows, a few early tracks, a B-side and a cover:
- Black Mirror
- Keep the Car Running
- Neighborhood #2 Laika
- No Cars Go
- I'm Sleeping in a Submarine
- My Body is a Cage
- Cold Wind
- Antichrist Television Blues
- The Well and The Lighthouse
- Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
- Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
- Rebellion (Lies)
- ENCORE: Headlights Look Like Diamonds
- Wake Up
- SECOND ENCORE: Kiss Off
Oh yeah, I was there for the surprise, impromptu performance. I was close to it all ... too close. More on that later.
Each time I see Arcade Fire live, it is different, memorable experience. Let's recap:
Sept. 2005 @ Central Park Summer Stage: David Bowie shows up for the encore. I'm in the front row, I nearly pass out from excitement. I leave hyper-ventilating. The Fire's performance was so intense, I thought someone was going to die on stage.
Feb. 2007 @ Judson Memorial Church: I wait 2 1/2 hours in the snow just so I can be upfront. Seeing them in a small space made up for lost time.
May 2005 @ Tower Theatre: I break in my new camera, during which Win encourages the crowd to bum rush the show. I'm stuck against the stage the whole show.
May 2005 @ Radio City Music Hall: Awesome pictures, crowd gets agitated with Radio City staff, I witness the whole chaos from the back.
Yesterday, it was the band's ninth show in New York, and it's possible that it's their largest headlining show ever. Why visit the ninth time and play an open field? Because they can. I would gather that maybe 20,000 people showed up to the island. I took a peak over the crowd from the stage and saw the sea of people and said to myself, "Holy dogshit, that's a lot of people ... how they going to get home?"
When you think of it, 5 bands, two of which are major draws for $40. That's a bargain. And a chunk of the money goes to charity -- Partner in Health.
Their performance solidifies themselves as the best band in the world until Radiohead comes out with a new album. So enjoy it until Tuesday. Every show for Arcade Fire is as complete a show as you'll see, hear and experience. They never phone in a performance. You leave thinking that it was the best show you'll see all year.
I think it's amazing how their music is just as good in the vastness of an open field with 20,000 people as it is in a tiny church in front of 600. With the crowd singing along to the choruses or screaming, "Lies! Lies!", you know you are part of a major spectacle. The neat sight when you look into the crowd were those little glowing strings being thrown about the whole show. It was like little jumping lightning bugs hoping all around.
Some of the craziness of the night included birthday boy William taking his snare drum and climbing the rafters. It was a fine King Kong impersonation as you see in the pictures. I saw him climbing and I'm like, "That boy has some balls ... I better grab my camera."
For the band, who have played every major festival around the world, this show was the pinnacle of the year. Everyone in attendance was there to see them. You can't help thinking that band is thinking pretty good about themselves now.
For which, about 5 minutes after the show was done and everyone was running out to get the few buses and ferries, the band came out from the side of the stage to do a impromptu rendition of Violent Femme's "Kiss Off." Basically, I was chit-chatting while trying to get out from the barricades. I turn around and see the band carrying megaphones and their instruments -- and they are walking right towards me. They surround me and security is running towards me as well trying to figure out what's going on. I'm freaking out. I said to myself, "Either let me out of the way or hand me a tambourine so I can join in." I duck out of there so that security doesn't beat me down. And here's what I saw.
Thus ends the year of the Arcade Fire in America. They head off to Europe and Australia for the rest of the year. I was actually hoping that they would reschedule their canceled European dates while I was there, but it didn't work out. That would have been sweet and f'in hell. Who knows when we'll see them again? Win mentioned that it will be a few years. I'm hoping they take a nice break -- take their time making their next opus. We get spoiled here in New York -- we get all the great acts coming repeatedly.
Now we have the other half of the day beyond the show -- how major a fucking hassle was getting there and getting out. As much as I want to see this type of show, it was one headache after another because public transportation to this remote part of New York City is sparse. I ended up taking the ferry, for which there was one in operation. Waited 45 minutes getting there another 90 minutes on the way back. I probably should have hid in the equipment truck to get a ride back to Manhattan.
It was actually rather beautiful at night, seeing the city from the river, so I didn't mind the trip. I'm always prepared for these situations, that's why I bring a book, magazine or IPOD with me. How was your travel experience?
Hey, Bowery Presents .. next time -- have it in Jersey City at Liberty State Park. Radiohead did it, so can Arcade Fire.
When I got to the open field all I can smell is fried food. Usually you smell weed or port-o-potties, but the smell of trans-fat oil being boiled over-took everything. I'm just amazed how people will get totally sloshed on $7 cups of beer, pass out and completely miss the show. Seems pointless, doesn't it? The longest line was not for merch, fried food or portable toilets, but for the cash machines. Interesting. Then after the show, the whole place was one big plastic bottle land fill. Talk about your carbon imprint.
I watched most of the show from the far side with the All Access people. So I have a little Page Six blind item for you. I'm having a great time watching the show with everyone around. In front of me is a popular singer-songwriter, one of those corporate cookie cutter artists --- no one I would listen to unless I had a gun pointed at me. She had this look of disdain, you had to wonder what her problem was. She barely clapped after each song and tapped her foot very slightly. Yeah, life's tough when you have to stand through the Arcade Fire and you're a pissed-off pop star.
As you can see with the pictures, I got a photo pass and I think the results are fantastic.
I like that photo, wish it was in focus. It's like, "Hey, Chris! Outta sight!"
Don't forget to check out the other posts on the day: