Monday, April 28, 2014

Review + Photos + Set List | Arcade Fire at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis

All photos by Louis Kwok

Now our lives are changing fast 
Now our lives are changing fast 
Hope that something pure can last 
Hope that something pure can last

There was the time Arcade Fire won a Grammy for the album without a hit.

The Suburbs was "Album of the Year," in fact, and an arena tour followed in 2011, but things seemed distant to an extent. The music was fabulous, but the songs really weren't built to stand on the shoulders of giants. Those songs were telling a story -- how we never waited, how we outgrew patience and ran away from the veins of a city. How we hid.

Things are different now. Arcade Fire is still playing arenas, even if Win Butler, near the end of last night's show, lamented how Chaifetz Arena was only a "third full." Didn't matter. Reflektor is the name of the new album, and these songs demand space for every butt and piece of sweaty skin to shake. You dance to these songs. If there were an Arcade Fire show every night in this city, then hurry up with my damn croissants, because those calories aren't long for this world. They burn off, baby.

"Here Comes the Nighttime" led things off, and I can't exactly remember when the confetti cannons activated, but they did so with immediacy and purpose -- like every single strand of colorful paper wanted to land in my drink. Forget what you saw on your lifeless Coachella stream, or that thirty second video on Vine or Instagram; if you haven't felt any of this, then you haven't experienced it. I don't even know why I'm writing this, really.

"We're not fucking around tonight, St. Louis," Butler said before unexpectedly launching into "Wake Up," the song that Arcade Fire normally closes with. But tonight was messy, and there was no waiting around for the end. Tonight the band who called their first album Funeral had numerous knockout punches. Tonight you flung your change on the ground just to hear it sing. Tonight you looked around to your left, to your right, and back to your left because that happy fucking guy dressed in a suit was still dancing.

"I guess we'll just have to adjust!" Butler sang, and then he let the crowd sing with him. Later, he would extend his body into the audience while he closed the night covering Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven." He gave everything he could possibly give, all six-feet-whatever of him.

Near the end of "We Used To Wait," Butler leaned toward the crowd, grimaced, and finally released the song's last line, "Wait for it!" Its message is different now somehow -- the world since The Suburbs has only become faster, and more fleeting. Nothing really lasts anymore; if we indeed used to wait, I don't know what to call what we're currently doing.

And I don't really care, as long as Régine Chassagne is still dancing with streamers during "Sprawl II." As long as Butler is shouting, "Hey!" during "No Cars Go."

If that remains, we're all gonna be okay.

Set List:
Here Comes the Night Time
Wake Up
Flashbulb Eyes
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Rebellion (Lies)
We Used to Wait
Empty Room
The Suburbs
The Suburbs (Continued)
Ready to Start
No Cars Go
We Exist
It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Country Grammar (Nelly)
Normal Person
Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry)

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