Last night, I was very lucky to be in attendance at Arcade Fire's intimate one-off performance at London's beautiful Hackney Empire.
I had not long returned from Glastonbury last Monday, when I was getting up to date with things, checking my emails etc, when I first saw an email saying "Apologies if you didn't get presale tickets [there was the special offer if you pre-ordered their 3rd album 'The Suburbs' via their website], we will inform you when the general sale is open", so I thought I would have to be READY that morning to declare battle on the ticket website, but having scrolled down my inbox a little more, I saw I'd actually qualified for the presale. The phrase "BEST WEEKEND EVER" came straight to mind. I was incredible HAPPY. Others would say I became a happy jumping loon.
There was a nice atmosphere in the queue, with everyone talking to each other, and discussing their previous Arcade Fire gig experiences, aswell as lots of people walking up and down the queue asking if anyone had a spare ticket. The organisation of the gig was very strict (but all for a good reason), everyone had paper confirmations and the tickets were issued inside, once the doors had opened. If you walked out, there were to be NO re-admissions. Arcade Fire wanted this gig to be for the fans, and to keep touting to a minimum. However, that didn't stop people trying to put their tickets (or their 'ticket confirmations') on eBay for £200+ a pair. Doors were opened shortly after 7pm, my friend & I had an awesome view from our Row B seats in the dress circle.
The band finally took to the stage at 8:30pm to mega applause from the audience. Opening with 'Ready To Start' followed by 'Modern Man', the setlist comprised of tracks from both their 'Funeral' & 'Neon Bible' albums and showcased half of the 16-track 'Suburbs' album, including both sides of their recent limited double A-side 12" single, all which were very well received.
The band themselves were on good form, Win Butler at one point caused a reaction of boos from the crowd, after saying that he thought England still had a good chance of winning the World Cup, before laughing and announcing he was practising his banter for the their upcoming Reading & Leeds headline performances. He also bantered with people in the crowd about the height of both himself and their London-based sound engineer, who he said was REALLY tall, to which someone said "I bet you're taller than him", "I bet you million dollars I'm not", before crowdsurfing later on.
Towards the end of their set, they performanced a storming version of the classic smash 'Neighborhood #3 [Power Out]' which segued beautifully into 'Rebellion [Lies]', both of which caused a mass singalong from the audience.
The fantastic 4-track encore consisted of the 'Crown Of Love', 'Neighborhood #1 [Tunnels]', 'Keep The Car Running' before ending the night on an even bigger high with 'Wake Up' which was surely made for festivals.
All in all, a good night was had by me and I'm sure the other 1200 people who were lucky to be there. Outside, there were a lot of happy smiling people trying to string words together to describe their emotions to the press who was waiting to get everyones reaction.
* Ready To Start
* Modern Man
* Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
* No Cars Go
* Empty Room
* The Suburbs
* Suburban War
* We Used To Wait
* Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
* Rebellion (Lies)
* Month Of May
* Crown Of Love
* Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
* Keep The Car Running
* Wake Up