Thursday, February 03, 2005

Fire Isn't Free (or Rebellion...Lies...whichever you prefer)

This was the title of a craigslist post regarding tickets for one of the 2 shows that The Arcade Fire recently played here (last night at Irving Plaza and the night before at Webster Hall) and boy was it true!

After missing the onsale date in December partly because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it (how nice of my school to not let me know of my teaching schedule until LAST FRIDAY when the class I'm teaching this semester started on Tuesday), I decided to try to get a ticket to last night's show. After coming up short on craigslist and waiting outside for hours and coming up empty, I finally found a guy willing to sell me an extra ticket for $65 (keep in mind that the original price of the ticket was $15 plus fees and furthermore, I talked him down from his original asking price of $80).

Now, ordinarily, I wouldn't pay such an exorbitant figure to see a show, especially one where the original ticket price was much cheaper, but after waiting for hours, I just didn't care anymore and wanted to get in. I'd love to be able to pout off some righteous screed right about now with the headline "Fuck you scalpers" and while I find the practice deplorable and have never sold a ticket above face value and fees in my entire life, the truth is that if people are willing to pay for it, the practice will continue. It's just supply and demand folks. There were others outside at 10:15 (3o minutes before they were scheduled to go on) last night still waiting and hoping to get in and I'm sure someone else would've offered the guy I got the ticket from an equal or even greater amount of money.

Anyhow, after waiting in line for the coat check (luckily I was the last person whose coat and bag they took; after that they had no more room!) and a bracelet for alcohol, I finally got upstairs and within about 10 minutes, they came on and man were they awesome. There must've been about 9 of them, each of them just going nuts and creating an enveloping and at times completely overwhelming wall of sound that's a feast for the eyes and ears. At times, so much was going on that I could barely keep up. I mean, just envision a male singer/guitarist who occasionally plays keyboards occasionally along with a female singer/keyboardist/occasional lead singer and their supporting cast of Blue Man Group members (not literally, but at times, 2 different percussionsists wore helmets, hit each other with drumsticks, were banging cymbals against the monitor and banging on a kick drum), a violinist and a great rhythm section. Oh and they switched instruments almost every couple of songs and it wasn't just for a gag, either. It's obvious that they're all very talented musicians that can play whatever's put up in front of them. And the energy in the place was unbelievable, not just the kind where everyone in the audience knew that they were seeing a great band with the potential to be really big like The Shins (who I saw there about a year ago), but a combination of that with just the feeling of being blown away by a band's energy, movements and songs. Anyway, here's the short version: if you chance to go see them, do it before they startheadlining Hammerstein and Radio City Music Hall like Interpol (don't get me wrong; I love Interpol, but I just prefer seeing indie bands in smaller venues; there are very few bands who have a big enough sound to fill out a space like Radio City Music Hall, though eventually The Arcade Fire may be among them because they sound gigantic and epic).

Anyway, for the encore they finished with "Rebellion (Lies)" and then brought out David Byrne (!!!), who sang their version of The Talking Heads' great "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" with them. What an amazing sight and an amazing night. Oh and I didn't wanna admit this, but I feel like I have to when I say that I almost cried during "Crown of Love".


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