Arcade Fire brought arena spectacle to surprise Bowery Ballroom show (pics, setlist, video)
The last time Arcade Fire played Bowery Ballroom was 2004 when Funeral was released. Even then they were too big for the room, but these days the Montreal band play arenas, so when they took to their socials Friday afternoon announcing that, surprise, they'd be playing Bowery that night as a benefit for Ukraine relief, one wondered, what kind of show would it be?
With a giant eye -- like the one on the cover of their just-announced sixth album WE -- looming over the crowd, Arcade Fire brought some arena spectacle to the 575-capacity room. There was a light show that, in this case, came direct from Régine Chassagne, who had LED pom-poms and gloves fitted with lasers. Win, Régine, and the rest of the band were basically on top of each other on the stage, but they were feeding off the intimacy. Their songs really did all of the heavy lifting, with their giant choruses and whoa-oh moments that had the whole room singing the entire night.
The Bowery setlist was almost exactly the same as the surprise show they played in New Orleans on Monday, opening with new song "Age of Anxiety I" before launching into some of their best-known, most-loved songs: "Ready to Start," "The Suburbs," "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," and more. Like in New Orleans, they were joined by Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner, who's been filling in with the band since Will Butler left.
Their encore began with new single "The Lightning I, II" and then the one-two punch of "Rebellion (Lies)" and the extended whoa-ohs of "Wake Up," that took the band off the stage and into the audience. From there they led the crowd, Second Line style, out onto the street, then across Delancey St and into the Bowery subway station, which they went through and come up onto the street again right outside of Bowery Ballroom.
Pictures of the whole show by P Squared are in this post and video and setlist are below.
Before the show started, they had an old school barrelhouse piano player off to the side along with a stand-up bass-player. As people walked in they were given a shirt that said "We," and at the merch table there was a different t-shirt along with a special 7" single of "Lightning I, II."
Wristbands for the show were available immediately, one per person and pay-what-you-can, after Arcade Fire announced the show Friday afternoon. Proceeds went to the Ukraine Relief Fund. They also let in a few people waiting outside on standby.
UPDATE: They're doing it again Saturday night!
Age of Anxiety I
Ready to Start
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)
Keep the Car Running
The Lightning I
The Lightning II