Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shouting With Fire In A Crowded Theater

10/7 UPDATE: I had the setlist wrong. Another website lists it as:

1. Black Mirror
2. Keep The Car Running
3. Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)
4. No Cars Go
5. Haïti
6. In The Backseat
7. Born On A Train
8. Intervention
9. (Antichrist Television Blues)
10. The Well And The Lighthouse
11. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
12. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
13. Rebellion (lies)

14. Crown Of Love
15. Wake Up

* * *

Surprises from the Arcade Fire's September 28 show at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City:

Funeral songs outnumbered those from the more recent Neon Bible!

In addition to one cover (The Magnetic Field's "Born on a Train"), seven selections were taken from Funeral (Tunnels, Laika, Crown of Love, Wake Up, Haiti, Rebellion (Lies), In the Backseat), while only 6 from Neon Bible were performed (Black Mirror, Keep the Car Running, Intervention, Well & the Lighthouse, Antichrist Television Blues, No Cars Go). I thought the whole point of releasing a second album is so that you don't have to play the songs you got sick of performing during the first round of touring. Not that I mind -- I was quite pleased with the setlist.

[photo taken from Flickr, as mine were uberblurry]

They played some sad shit!

"In the Backseat" might be the saddest song I've ever seen performed live. It seemed like terribly heavy material for 10 p.m. on a Friday night. They led off the encore with "Crown of Love", which is far more lyrically abstract, but I suspect just as melancholy. Oh, and despite its bounce, "Haiti" is pretty grim: "In the forest, we are hiding / Unmarked graves where flowers grow". Would you expect anything less from an album titled "Funeral"? I guess when 3/4 of your material is sad, you're going to play some sad shit. I could delete this whole paragraph, now pointless, but then what would you have to read? The last post in which I mentioned "In the Backseat"?

A friend of a friend got up to use the restroom as the anthemic "Intervention" began!

Who does that?!

I saw three black guys!

What's more surprising? A black youth attending the show in an Andrew W.K. T-shirt, accessorized by dogtags, a tilted Yankees cap, and a tiny white bluetooth earpiece? Or the elderly couple attending the show, seated near the top of the amphitheater, trying to comprehend the modern world that created an audience for LCD Soundsystem?

Singing backup Arcade Fire lyrics en masse isn't really satisfying!

It was a good show, hampered by two things. First, the location. It's always a little awkward to rock out in a location designed for a seated public. Standing next to your seat is only slightly more exciting than sitting on top of it. I like my rock shows to feel a little more dangerous, and a little more communal.

That leads me to the second point. While I'm sometimes angered by fan singing along with the lyrics, an exception is always made for singing backup. The Polyphonic Spree show was made great when all the fans shouted along with the Spree choir. One would imagine that the all of the oohs and OOO-OOO-OOO-OOOHs and LIES! LIES! peppered throughout the Arcade Fire catalog would produce a similarly inspired swell from the crowd, but it never materialized. Have you ever tried to sing a falsetto LIES! LIES! with any significant volume? It doesn't work. Such efforts are best suited to the Spree's bah dah dup dah dahs -- which I'll be experiencing again in a few short weeks. Good times.

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