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Arcade Fire + Patrick Wolf live at The Olympia, Dublin
Tonight is the first time Arcade Fire have played in Ireland with a roof over their head, and the sense of occasion is palpable.
Stuart Clark, 22 Mar 2007
If you’ve ever wondered what the outcome would be if Tori Amos and Antony Hegarty had a child, Patrick Wolf is your answer. His big-boned, classically trained approach mightn’t be everyone’s cup of PG Tips, but you certainly couldn’t accuse of him being dull. Whether sitting down legs akimbo at his harpsichord – yes, you read right – or urging his pencil-skirted second-violinist to give it socks, this is a man, who like this evening’s headliners, goes for the everything including the kitchen sink approach. The results range from the exhilarating (‘The Magic Position’) to the downright Andrew Lloyd-Webber (‘Overture’). A little less histrionics and more pop nous, and the 6’4” Londoner might find himself adored as much as so he obviously wants to be.
Tonight is the first time Arcade Fire have played in Ireland with a roof over their head, and the sense of occasion is palpable. The combination of a delayed flight and technical problems means that the Canadians are an hour late going on, but that’s immediately forgotten as they open with a barnstorming ‘Keep The Car Running’.
A ringer for Bill Clinton in his younger, non-inhaling days, Win Butler looks genuinely gobsmacked by the roar of approval which greets its conclusion. Ditto the missus Regine Chassagne who, when she’s not switching between hurdy gurdy, accordion, percussion, drums and organ, keeps telling us in that Minnie Mouse voice of hers how much she loves us.
The night’s first truly epic moment is supplied by ‘Neighborhood #1’, which builds and builds and then builds some more to a sweat-drenched climax that shows Coldplay, Keane, Starsailor etc. up for the MOR bores that they are.
Although soon to join the U2/REM elite stadium brigade, there’s none of the “Let us tell you what to think” sermonising that both of those band’s frontmen are prone to. Indeed there’s so much smiling, punching the air and general wigging out on stage that for the most part Arcade Fire look like a mirror image of the crowd.
The downside of giving it full-throttle on every song is that there’s a lack of light and shade – hell, even Motörhead have an acoustic ballad in their set.
They also nod so furiously at Springsteen that by the time they get to Oxegen, it’ll be a wonder if Win’s not in a neck-brace.
Quibbles which go straight out the window when, smelling blood, Butler & Co. finish with the quintuple-whammy of ‘Rebellion (Lies)’, ‘Intervention’, ‘Wake Up’, ‘(Antichrist Television Blues)’ and ‘Neon Bible’.
Add in some bouncer-annoying stage diving (Win) and climbing up to the balcony from the stage (Will), and this is a gig that was worth paying the scumbucket touts outside €350 for.