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Arcade Fire, review and live shots
Check out our pics from last night' epic O2 show
Paul Nolan, 06 Dec 2010
The weather may have caused chaos and our economy may have entered an unprecedented crisis, but the music gods have smiled on Ireland over the past fortnight. Two weeks to the night that LCD Soundsystem concluded their three-night stint in Tripod, another of the best bands in the world - and James Murphy’s good friends - Arcade Fire hit Dublin for a two-night run in the O2.
Kicking off with the appropriately titled ‘Ready To Start’, Win Butler and co are in typically energetic form in front of hugely enthusiastic sold-out crowd. The show really takes off during ‘Neighbourhood # 2 (Laika)’, at the start of which Win instructs those of us in the seated sections to “stand the fuck up!” As it happens, the band play so brilliantly that we’re happy to remain standing for the rest of the evening.
‘Haiti’ sounds typically magical, and even more emotionally resonant given that country’s traumatic recent experiences. Indeed, later, Butler – in one of a couple of references to Ireland’s current financial woes – will say, “It’s even more special right now, cos I know it’s tough times in Ireland, but one euro from every ticket tonight is going to help Haiti... they’ve had, like, 95% unemployment for about 50 years. Kind of puts things in perspective!”
Too much fucking perspective, to quote Spinal Tap’s David St Hubbins. The band are performing in front of a giant screen, which throughout shows visuals that complement the music superbly. This is especially true during one of the stand-out songs of the evening, ‘The Suburbs’, when the sepia-toned footage from Spike Jonze’s video for the song (kids cycling through housing estates, messing around on front lawns, hanging out – and making out – on fly-overs) proves the perfect accompaniment to the song’s haunting feel, making for a truly spine-tingling moment.
There also ace visuals during ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’ (slo-mo shots of Regine Chassagne dancing with streamers) and ‘Modern Man’ (vintage black and white footage of ’50s suburbia). Towards the later part of the set, ‘Neighbourhood # 1 (Tunnels)’ packs a powerful emotional punch, while the closing one-two of ‘Neighbourhood # 3 (Power Out)’ and ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ is nothing short of phenomenal.