by RYAN BOLTON
Arcade Fire was a far cry from the suburbs last night. They were on an island. Toronto Island.
As the band got ready to hit the stage, their third album, which has been as well received as it was anticipated, The Suburbs, became the number one selling album in North America. And after having Terry Gilliam film their Madison Square Garden live to YouTube vehicle, they also bookended Lollapolooza last weekend. In other words, the Montreal collective of a married couple with a fellow sibling were, ah damn, I have to say it, on fire.
And the show didn’t disappoint the legions of fans that journeyed to Centre Island for an intake of indie gods pour on the energy. But the hour-and-a-half wait for the ferry after the show might have. (Commenters, like last time with the beer lines, do your thing below.)
Arcade Fire is built for festival shows. Their music, especially the anthem-steeped Funeral, is stuffed with building crescendos and oh-oh-ah sing-a-longs. I first saw the band perform at Hillside Festival in 2005 right after Funeral blew up. Back then they closed with their typical closer, “Wake Up,” but would then proceeded to march through the crowd with instruments in tow eventually forming a drum circle. (Yeah, it was Hillside).
With eight people on stage last night, including one that is wildly running around stabbing a snare drum, the energy is palpable. And standing there in the massive audience (well, in the beer tent), Arcade Fire not just moves you physically, but emotionally. It’s at once a personal and a collective experience in this milieu. And the atmosphere personified this as I spotted a couple people with tears streaming their cheeks. (One lad in the beer tent, Adam, I believe, came up to me worried. He thought I wasn’t having a good time as I wasn’t flailing my body parts, but then realized I was madly scribbling notes. He gave me the go-ahead when I explained.)
Read the rest of the story on blogTO, with photography by Matthew McAndrew.