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Suskie Susquatch

Title: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 04, 2010 (01:09 AM)


Ready to Start
Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
No Cars Go
Haiti
Rococo
Oh It's Such a Shame [Jay Reatard cover]
Deep Blue
The Suburbs
The Suburbs (Continued)
Intervention
We Used to Wait
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Rebellion (Lies)
Month of May
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Keep the Car Running
===
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Modern Man
Wake Up

What a great show. Arcade Fire has been one of my favorite bands for several years now and this is the first time I've had the chance to see them live. The show absolutely lived up to my expectations.

We made a massive detour for cheesesteaks at Tony Luke's (way on the other side of the city), so we were running a little behind and wound up missing the first few Spoon songs, and by the time I got there, they were playing "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," one of my favorite songs of theirs. Other than their new single (which sucks), they sounded great.

Arcade Fire actually found a way to incorporate a massive screen into their set without it looking out-of-place, by sticking to the suburban theme of their most recent album and making the screen look like a giant billboard next to a highway. The band took the stage with "Ready to Start," which is probably my favorite song from The Suburbs.

I had no idea what to expect from the setlist, because at the time of the concert, the new album technically wasn't out yet, leaving the vast majority of the audience unfamiliar with the new material. I've had the leak on constant repeat over the last week or so and am pretty intimately familiar with it, and I'm happy to report that they played nearly everything I wanted to hear from it (with the exception of "Suburban War"). It's tough to say which of these songs will turn out to be classics and which ones they'll chuck for future tours, but I anticipate that quite a few of them will grow in popularity as fans become more familiar with The Suburbs.

Of the new songs, "We Used to Wait" was probably the best of the night, and again, I can imagine it only getting better as fans are more familiar with it and are prepared to chant along with "We used to wait for it!" during the song's climax. "Sprawl II" was another standout, just because the song is pretty epic in nature anyway, and thus a joy to watch being played on stage.

Predictably, the Funeral songs stole the show. The absolute high point of the night was the one-two punch of the "Power Out"/"Rebellion" combo, which I'd heard about elsewhere. It started with a brutal extended version of "Power Out," which ended with the band erupting into a mess of distortion, noise and flashing lights, during which the bass drum from "Rebellion" (easily my favorite song of theirs) slowly kicked in. While the audience wasn't overly responsive to the picks from The Suburbs, they were incredibly enthusiastic for the songs they recognized, screaming the lyrics to the many mass-shout-along-ready choruses of Arcade Fire's songs. The aisle next to me quickly filled with people dancing.

Other highlights of the show were "Haiti," which was unbelievably intense live, and "Wake Up," which is probably their most popular song after all of those Where the Wild Things Are commercials last year. The latter was a smart closer and easily the emotional apex of the show. Think about how that song's chorus sounds, and now imagine thousands of people belting it out in unison. It was absolutely beautiful.

I want to stress just how impressed I was by the song selection. Only three songs from Neon Bible (their weakest album by a mile) made it to the show, and they were easily my three favorites from that album. Anything from Funeral was terrific, and I was happy with just about all of the new material. The only weak spots were "Rococo" (which is probably the worst song on The Suburbs) and the Jay Reatard cover, which was nice in lieu of the man's death but not a highlight in a show where people came to hear Arcade Fire songs. And while "The Suburbs" is a nice opener for the album, it's not one of their most engaging live songs, and I can easily see it being tossed for future shows.

Also, "In the Backseat" was the only song that I really wanted to hear and didn't. I guess it's not one of their more popular songs, but it's breathtakingly gorgeous, and I get the feeling Regine would have absolutely killed it live.

One thing I want to point out is just how enthusiastic the band members were on stage. Win and Regine were totally into every song they did (Win even came into the audience a few times), and one of the drummers at one point accidentally chucked one of his sticks into the crowd in the middle of a song and had to go get it. The best concerts I've ever been to have established a real dynamic between performer and audience (I could just listen to the music at home, after all), and that absolutely happened here.

So, this was the second-best concert I've ever been to. Muse still ranks first, but after I saw them in March, I made the bold (and somewhat exaggerated) assertion that every other live show will suck now, and that's certainly not the case. Last night was one of the most memorable nights of my life, and if you're into Arcade Fire's music, I couldn't recommend seeing them more. Their live act really exemplifies the life-affirming power of a great concert.

Pictures of the show are here. They're not great because they were taken with my cell phone, but they're something. This was my first time at the Mann Center, and it reminded me of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, which was where I saw Leonard Cohen last year. Look for a gorgeous view of the Philadelphia skyline. It's worth noting that while the venue looks nice (and was), we had to drive through an awful neighborhood to get there. It is in West Philly, after all.
[reply]

BenUser: Ben
Title: Re: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 04, 2010 (08:45 AM)
Spoon opened? Fuck, I'm incredibly jealous.

Glad you had an awesome time, though. Wish I could've been there!
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 04, 2010 (03:49 PM)
I know, right? Usually when an opening act is as good as Spoon, it means there's another opening act. I was amazed when I heard that Arcade Fire and Spoon were the only two bands performing.
[reply]

HalonUser: Halon
Title: Re: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 05, 2010 (01:02 AM)
I saw them tonight for the second time! Great live show and they're even playing tomorrow and it's apparently gonna be broadcast on youtube. Good thing I went to this one haha.
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 05, 2010 (02:20 PM)
Yeah, Terry Gilliam is apparently directing the live broadcast. I can't wait to watch it.

How full was MSG, exactly? I'm only wondering because it doesn't seem to me like Arcade Fire would be capable of filling an arena two nights in a row, especially when they aren't doing it anywhere else. Hell, I was surprised that they were playing venues as big as the Mann Center.
[reply]

HalonUser: Halon
Title: Re: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 05, 2010 (08:44 PM)
It was actually packed, just about the same as tonight judging from the live stream. I saw them three years ago and it was also surprisingly packed although the arena was nowhere near the size of MSG (Starland ballroom maybe? can't remember to be honest).

Third album is also growing on me, I didn't care for it at first then heard the songs and actually enjoyed them. It definitely won't top Funeral but might pass Neon Bible. Just need to listen to it a few more times and time will tell.

[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 05, 2010 (11:20 PM)
I didn't care for it at first then heard the songs and actually enjoyed them.

Yeah, listening to the songs is pretty vital to enjoying the music :)

I watched most of the live broadcast, although it was basically the same as the show I saw on Monday give or take a few songs (they got Crown of Love, we got the Jay Reatard cover). They certainly didn't have a snow machine at the Mann Center -- when they played Tunnels, they just had snow on the screen.

In any case, I'm amazed (and kinda thrilled) that they're popular enough to fill MSG two nights in a row. They must have an awful lot of New York fans. Hopefully they'll play Wachovia Center Wells Fargo Center the next time they stop in Philly.
[reply]

HalonUser: Halon
Title: Re: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 06, 2010 (01:06 AM)
Oops, missed the word "live" in that sentence. :(

I'm not sure if I like their newest album over Neon Bible (too many filler songs bring it down a bit) but would take it over NB any day live.

I checked out their website and apparently they don't play many shows and seem to be one of those bands that would prefer to cover a large distance (their next stop is Europe I believe) over playing lots of shows in one area. So maybe they prefer to play a few larger shows rather than lots of smaller ones? dunno
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: Arcade Fire w/ Spoon @ Mann Center, Philadelphia, PA (8/2/10)
Posted: August 06, 2010 (02:33 PM)
I liked Neon Bible when it first came out and I still think it's a pretty good album and all, but very few of the songs have stuck with me after the last few years. Even my favorites from the album, Intervention and No Cars Go, couldn't touch anything on Funeral.

On the other hand, I've probably listened to the new album about a thousand times by now and I really like the vast majority of the songs. Even the ones like Deep Blue that will probably fade away from most people's minds in a few years.
[reply]

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