Arcade Fire 10/08/10
Shrine Auditorium – Los Angeles, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
I wouldn’t say that I hated the Arcade Fire. I just was never moved by their music. Hell there was a time in my life when I was tortured by them. Then out of nowhere like a silent ninja; the Arcade Fire snuck up and choked me into submission with their latest release “The Suburbs.” I know that it is no coincidence that the record landed in my lap hours after returning from Berkeley and a weekend in the suburbs where I spent my first 21 years. The choke out continued with a clever interactive video for “We Used To Wait” that literally took a homesick soul and gave them a soundtrack for their depression. So when an offer to see the band at the historic Shrine Auditorium was presented to me, I jumped on the opportunity to see if the Arcade Fire was something special or if perhaps they just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
I could write an entire essay about the nightmare that was The Shrine on Friday night. From the thirty minute wait to get into a parking lot that was $13 higher than advertised to the fact that all bars inside the venue had at least a twenty minute wait for drinks, the logistics were an absolute nightmare. Yet once seated inside, all the struggle was in the rear view. Having barely made it to my seat, the house lights went down and the Arcade Fire stormed the stage. From the opening notes of “Ready To Start” it was clear that Arcade Fire live was more than just a concert, it was a spiritual experience.
I am the first to say that crowds in Los Angeles are dull and undeserving. This crowd was anything but. The energy level and devotion was intense. Sitting in the balcony, I feared the entire thing would come down from folks jumping, dancing and just flat out rocking as the band played a 90 minute set with a heavy mix of songs from “The Suburbs” as well as classics from their past releases. It didn’t matter if the band was playing a radio hit like “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” or a new song such as “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” the energy was through the roof. Then again, with Win Butler darting off the stage and running up to say hi to me in the balcony, it was hard to not go nuts during the song.
What impressed me most with the band is that it truly appears to be ego free. There is no Eddie Van Halen or Steven Tyler. Instead it is 8-9 musicians coming together losing themselves to create something more powerful. The Grateful Dead may have created the Wall of Sound, but the Arcade Fire is a wall of sound. The only way you could not have been moved by the show is if you truly lacked a soul. As impressive is how the each member can play 2-3 instruments. With each song, you were looking at a different configuration, and while the music stays true, different skills take the music to different places thus making the Arcade Fire unstoppable.
When all was said and done, the Arcade Fire rapidly shot their way into the top 5 bands I have seen all year. I get it now. It is powerful, dynamic, introspective and just a huge rush of love and energy on the same level of Phish and the Flaming Lips. You are not just going to a show; you are being saved by rock and roll. Now that I am converted, I just want to be saved again.