Since the release of their debut album ‘Funeral’ back in 2004, Arcade Fire have been consistent in proving their greatness through both their releases and live shows. Last year saw the release of their fifth album ‘Everything Now’ and though they visited Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl not long after the album’s release, they returned on Sunday for a colossal show over at Manchester Arena.
Complete with ropes and scoreboard style screens, the stage was centred and resembled a boxing ring. As the beautiful instrumental intro to ‘Everything Now’ filled the room, the band entered from one of the corners, whilst a commentator proudly reeled off their achievements. Their two hour set began with ‘Everything Now’ and though stage design can’t be simple with there being seven of them, the band had fans views in mind and not only did part of the stage revolve, but the members were as energetic as ever and bounced their way across the stage throughout the night.
Never failing to perform a set of tracks from all areas of their career, ‘Everything Now’ was followed by a vigorous rendition of ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and the mid-tempo ‘Here Comes The Night Time’, before the band launched into ‘No Cars Go’. By this time, the ropes around the stage had been removed and a combination of the screens, lights, fog and lasers made it a visual spectacle that nobody will forget.
Despite playing a 21k capacity venue, the band made it feel like a more intimate environment, with both Win Butler and Régine Chassagne making trips into the crowd, dismantling the barrier between artist and fan. ‘Afterlife’ saw Win visit the lower tier, taking a seat on the stairs, whilst the infectiously catchy ‘Reflektor’ saw Régine skip through the standing area and dance with fans underneath a disco ball. It’s not often that you see previous Glastonbury headliners interacting with the crowd on such a personal level and it’s just one of the many attributes that have gained Arcade Fire their reputation as one of this decades best live bands.
From the Régine led ‘Electric Blue’ and the melodic ‘The Suburbs’, to their first performance of ‘Vampire/Forest Fire’ since 2011, the band were luminous and had everybody dancing right the way up to ‘Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)’, before departing the stage. Returning with the touching ‘We Don’t Deserve Love’, Win entered from the back and wandered through the standing area, his voice peppered with a heartbreaking sincereness.
After revisiting ‘Everything Now’ with the help of their support act, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the show came to an almighty end with perhaps their most chaotic track to date, ‘Wake Up’. Though Win spoke with honesty and sadness when informing the crowd that they wouldn’t be back for a while, the crowd didn’t let it bring them down and lived for the moment, continuing the chorus until the band were well off the stage and the houselights were on. Never mind love, we don’t deserve Arcade Fire!