Published Jul 24, 2016Arcade Fire have existed in a semi-dormant state of late, adding to the anticipation of their Saturday night headlining slot.
Walking out to a stripped down version of the stage from their Reflektor tour, the band worked through their catalogue in chunks, first tackling a trio of tracks from The Suburbs. They hit an early high with "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" where Regine Chassagne stepped out from behind the second drum kit she'd been manning to take lead vocals, her voice soaring out across the field.
She and Win Butler were the evening's focal points onstage, but the sprawling band included Sarah Neufeld and Owen Pallett, stars in their own right, as well as a horn section and a pair of percussionists. Butler said little during the 90-minute set, though he did take a moment to stump for arts funding.
The group moved forward to three Reflektor tracks before dipping back to Neon Bible, using a low-key cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" to segue into "Keep the Car Running."
Opting to skip an encore they finally landed on Funeral, offering "Neighbourhood 1 (Tunnels)," "Neighbourhood 3 (Powers Out)" and "Rebellion (Lies)" in quick succession, receiving a massive sing-along in return. The Haitian funk of "Here Comes the Night Time" interrupted the mini-set, during which about a dozen people wearing the papier-mâché heads from the band's "Reflektor" video joined the already crowded stage. The night ended with "Wake Up" and fireworks before Butler threw the mic into the crowd, imploring someone to sing something (a tearful fan thanked them for their music instead).
The night offered no clues as to where the band will go from here but it was a powerful summation of everything they've accomplished.