As I mentioned previously, I went to see Arcade Fire last week. Unfortunately it got off to a bad start when despite having an early access pass, I was let in slightly after the general admission crowd. I had paid a rather large amount for this pass and to say I was annoyed would be an understatement. Luckily when I finally got in, I cornered the organiser and he took my details and promised to take action on it. I made my way to the stage and managed to get myself a place on the barrier, albeit off to the left by the screens. The first three support acts were all entertaining enough to make the time pass, and I even got interviewed for a documentary about the gig (and my photo taken a few times as I was reading a book inbetween acts. Apparently this is not a normal sight!). Then came Mumford & Sons and oh my god, did they ever drag on. I have never much liked them as their music has too much banjo for me, but it seems that live they are even worse. Every song sounds exactly the same and I can tell you that an hour and 10 minutes of them is absolute torture! To make it even worse, it seemed that everyone around me was mostly there with the sole intent of seeing them, so I looked very out of place just standing still on the barrier while all around me the crowd went crazy for yet another banjo solo.
Finally Mumford & Sons were over, people around me actually left and I could unplug my ears. Now it was time for Arcade Fire, and the stage was decked out with bunting and a cinema-style marquee. They arrived onstage promptly and without fuss and immediately launched into the single ‘Ready To Start’, a song that I assumed everyone would know and love. Unfortunately for me, the crowd around me had minimal movement and the girls directly next to me on the barrier looked bored throughout the whole thing. I tried not to let it deter me, but it’s hard to feel like you can let go and enjoy yourself when no-one around you is moving. Luckily the band was on top form and the setlist was great. We even got the first live rendition of ‘Speaking In Tongues’ which was a nice bonus. I came away with the buzz of an amazing show, despite the boring crowd and access issues, and it’s had the problem of making me want more Arcade Fire gigs now. I may have to look into Edinburgh in September.
The setlist was:
Ready To Start
No Cars Go
Speaking In Tongues
Crown Of Love
The Suburbs (Continued)
Month Of May
Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)
We Used To Wait
Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
Keep The Car Running
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Here is a slightly rubbish photo from my temporary small camera.
The next day I received an email from the organiser of the early access passes offering his apologies for the confusion, and asking if I would like a VIP pass for the Wireless Festival Sunday date. Pulp, The Hives and free booze? I typed yes so quickly I almost broke my fingers.
I have to say, having VIP access to a festival has given me the taste for it now! It was lovely to have a free bar and nice toilets to retreat to. I also managed to get in a few choice bands, including Yuck, Metronomy, The Horrors, The Hives and Foals. Pulp were the headliners and they were really quite incredible. Jarvis still leaps around the stage like a man twenty years his junior, climbing the speakers and tossing out casual quips to the crowd. The setlist was near perfect as well, with a great mix of hits and rarities to keep the more die-hard fans satisfied. The only thing that would have made it better was seeing it with my friends, and luckily I will when they headline Reading in August.
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