Arcade Fire burst on the scene in 2004 with their first full-length album “Funeral” quickly winning over the indie rock community. After their sophomore release, “Neon Bible“, and tour in 2007 they returned this year with the critical favorite “The Suburbs“. During these last 6 years, the band earned a reputation as an amazing live act, blending wild abandon with a determined raw energy – building epic tracks towards frenzied crescendos. Therefore, we waited anxiously for the recent tour’s visit to the Greek theater on the campus of UC Berkeley on October 2, 2010.
The show was amazing and hit all the right notes as hoped. The band’s performance was full of emotion, energy and intensity. Yes there was wild abandon, but also a sense that the delivery was very carefully arranged and rehearsed. Lead singer guitarist Win Butler fronts most of the songs though several selections featured his wife Régine Chassagne as lead vocalist. All of the band are talented multi-instrumentalists each of whom switch duties throughout the show keeping things fresh and never dull. Lights, surreal video and a closed circuit live video feed of the show were very effectively combined on a central large hi-definition monitor placed in front of a full sized projection backdrop. Highlights of the performance included the chipper “Sprawl II” sung by Régine in a childlike lilt. The dramatic track “Rococo” is a personal favorite which was rendered even more powerful in it’s live delivery. They closed the show with their epic first hit “Wake Up” and delivered it’s sing-song finish along with enthusiastic audience participation. Heart warming inspirational show – highly recommended.