REVIEW: Arcade Fire at Big Day Out Gold Coast
For their second show as part of the Big Day Out tour, Arcade Fire transformed the Gold Coast’s Metricon stadium into a Haitian carnival, channelling their alto egos, the Reflektors, for an exploration of all things fancy dress, sex and disco.
The Montreal rockers made their way onto the Orange stage as Blur’s ‘Song 2’ blared across the speakers, an obvious ode to the festival’s original headliners, who pulled out weeks before the event due to what the band labelled “challenging conditions.”
“We’re from Canada, and we’re Arcade Fire,” the group’s lead singer Win Butler told the crowd. “Thanks for watching.”
As the band kicked off their performance with ‘Normal Person,’ a track from their latest album ‘Reflektor,’ four giant mirrored plates dropped from the ceiling, sending shatters of light across the stadium.
The ‘Reflektor’ theme was universal, appropriate given the name of their latest album. Each instrument was decorated with mirrored scales, with accents of red and ultraviolet blue and silver, while a silver glitter curtain acted as a backdrop.
As the lights danced and moved across the crowd, so did the band’s loving fans (it’s hard to imagine someone not grooving along to the band’s disco-laced riffs and funky synths).
While the group’s frontman Win was dressed in a black and white tuxedo jacket, his brother Will wore a pastel blue suit, and fellow band member Régine Chassagne, also known as Mrs. Win Butler, donned a decent gold-appliqued dress. Other band members wore frightening masks and the two Haitian percussionists styled their hair in dreadlocks.
As the band made their way through old and new hits, including ‘Month of May,’ ‘Rococo,’ ‘Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),’ – which Win ended with a line from Pulp’s ‘Common People’ – ‘The Suburbs,’ and ‘Ready to Start,’ the crowd clapped on beat and sung along to every verse.
“This is the second time we’ve played Big Day Out. We get to hang out with all the artists,” Win said before revealing they’d versed Pearl Jam in a basketball game the day before. “It’s so f*cking fun.”
Shards of reflective light fought their way through heavy smoke, as co-vocalist Chassagne lent her voice to ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),’ twirling fluorescent streamers above her head as she belted out her impressive solo.
Next up were ‘No Cars Go,’ and ‘Keep the Car Running,’ with the Canadian six-piece then moving to crowd-favourite ‘Reflektor,’ – the lead single off their just-released fourth studio album.
Glitter confetti exploded into the crowd as the band hit the chorus of their new track ‘Here Comes the Nightime,’ an ode to Haiti, with the lights dimming as Win gushed: “Thank you for a beautiful show.”
Before the night was over, the band returned to the stage for an emotional encore performance of one of their biggest hits ‘Wake Up.’
The night’s request for their fans was simple: “Take care of each other.” And that’s exactly what they did as they danced, each without a dry eye, together.