Friday, December 28, 2007

Arcade Fire

13th November 2007, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam.

This was the first time I had been to a concert at the HMH. I had heard lots of rumours about the problems associated with this purpose-built concert hall, such as those with the sound and atmosphere, so I wasn't sure what to expect. However I have to admit I was quite bowled over by the building and its high-tech design. The lounge area with a wall-mounted hand to house the DJ looked super cool. This concert was a sellout but we arrived in time and there was plenty of room right up at the stage and everywhere in fact. The hall is so big, but it didn't seem to get crowded at all, which is good for viewing and dancing but is probably a contributory factor to the lack of atmosphere. The support band Wild Light was an awful American country band. I will say no more and hopefully will never hear them anymore.
The stage was transformed for the main act with an organ, several round TV screens and a neon bible backdrop. Before the band came on, the TV screens showed American TV dominees preaching and ranting and then the band appeared and launched into Black Mirror. Surprisingly, Regine played a central role in the first (quiet) part of the set. The black and white 'aged' projections of the band members on the TV screens worked well, in what was really a simple set. The antics of the other band members needed no other distractions from lighting or projections and soon livened things up. The concert really seemed to come alive and get the hall jumping with the last 3 tracks: Tunnels, Neighborhood and Rebellion. The communal singing at this show was great with so many songs with choruses that everybody could join in with. (I don't think everybody knew the right words!) Arcade Fire came back on to end with a storming Keep the car running and of course Wake Up. Hopefully this satisfied the idiot kid in front of me who had been screaming for Wake Up between every single song since the show had started.

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