Arcade Fire lives up to the hype!!

I went to hear Arcade Fire last week at Radio City to see what all the hype is about.  Now I understand.  The show had a double-billing that excited me.  Both The National and Arcade Fire have been selling out shows in NYC for the past year and this was an opportunity to see them together.  However, as often happens, we arrived late, missing The National's opening set <bummer>, but nestled up to our seats right in time for the main event.  Arcade Fire's presence on stage is very unique.  They exude an energy that is fun, spirited and communal.  You can tell they genuinely want to interact with their fans (as evidenced by several pleas by the band's Win Butler to come closer to the stage, despite Radio City's policies to the contrary).   Apparently, fans were on stage with the band for their encore at United Palace Theater the previous night, documented for perpetuity by this video posted by my friend, Danny.  Jon, who was at the show with me, remarked that they have a certain ethos and collective spirit that is palpable.  It's true.  Their presence on stage is unique, partially because no individual takes center stage, rare for bands today.  In fact, they spent much of the night trading places and instruments (I assume this is part of their routine), moving around on stage as if playing musical chairs.  Combined with a dose of creative flare and expressive performing, this adds a theatrical element to the already compelling music...a unique genre I describe as symphonic rock.  All in all, seeing Arcade Fire live is a thrill.  Their music is great, but they are one of those bands who need to be seen live to appreciate why they are so special.

By Josh Guttman

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