There was definitely a palpable 'something' before the Hallowe'en Arcade Fire gig at Nottingham Arena. There's usually some expectation, but this one felt different. An event. I've read the hype, I loved the album but still wasn't convinced.
I wouldn't normally come to a venue this big, it's a ten thousand seater, about the same size as Birmighams NIA. I prefer gigs in locations quite a bit smaller. I thought maybe they could be cashing in on their success, and playing halls to get as may people in as possible. Maybe at the expense of performance and atmosphere.
I needn't have worried. The lights drop and some small drum size circular screens on poles start displaying talking head American preachers. They come on one at time each playing a different scene. The noise rises, there's some movement in the gloom and suddenly there about twenty people on stage making a fantastic cacophany. I notice the hairs on the back of my neck are standing on end.
They played for ninety minutes. Staying mostly with the uptempo (alas no Ocean of Noise, or My Body is a Cage). Highlights were No Cars Go, Rebellion and a cover of The Smiths Still Ill. Their songs chorus' and harmonies really beg to be heard live. The clowning and interchanging of positions and intruments makes it hard to take your eyes off them. It's also difficult to keep track of how many people are on stage, let alone where they're all standing
One sour note was that Win Butler was hit by a plastic bottle thrown from the crowd. I thought he was going to jump into the crowd and brain the marksman with his guitar. The perp must have legged it though, as Win looked for him he shouted "Where'd ya go, fucker!"
I think there's some London shows left. If you can get tickets, I advise you to go. They are seriously outstanding. Just don't throw anything at Win.