August 25th, 2014 12:42pm

If There’s No Music Up In Heaven, What’s It For?

Arcade Fire @ Barclays Center 8/24/2014
Reflektor / Flashbulb Eyes / Power Out / Rebellion (Lies) / Joan of Arc / Rococo / The Suburbs / Ready to Start / Tunnels / We Exist / My Body Is A Cage / No Cars Go / Haiti / Afterlife / It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus) / Sprawl II // Dream Baby Dream (with David Byrne) / Here Comes the Night Time / Normal Person / Wake Up

Arcade Fire “Here Comes the Night Time”

I’ve seen a bunch of Arcade Fire shows going back to 2007 in venues of varying shapes and sizes – a small church, a huge field, a converted movie palace, an arena, a makeshift club – and this was, by FAR, the best show I’ve ever seen them play. The tour they’re on now is the one where they’ve fully realized all of their ideas and aesthetics, and pushed them further into this colorful carnival spirit that I think it took a while for them to fully inhabit. When I saw them last year, they were using a lot of the same costumes and the bobble head people, etc, but it just wasn’t quite there yet. It all seemed forced.

But now all the Reflektor songs are very lived-in and they fans know them well, and the band is working with a much bigger stage and higher production values. They can pull off performance art staging like dramatizing Orpheus’ quest for Eurydice during “It’s Never Over” and have it seem fun and cool rather than dorky and pretentious, and end “Wake Up” by leaving the venue on a New Orleans second line playing a jazz version of the song. They can have guys in high heels dancing to “We Exist” on a stage in the middle of the room, and get David Byrne to dress up like a dracula and sing backup on a Suicide cover. They can blast confetti and have a bunch of auxiliary percussionists and genuinely make people dance through much of the set. It just clicks. This whole carnival thing is part of them now, and it’s a good thing – a problem with the earlier incarnation of their show was that it was just a bit too dour, and all deep dark catharsis and not much pure fun. Now they are pulling off a full tonal range, and it’s a far richer experience.

Buy it from Amazon.

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