When Arcade Fire announced they had a new album coming out, you expected them to tour it. Such is their pull, The Hydro or The SECC would seem like logical venues, but when the news broke that they were playing 2 nights at The Barrowlands under the pseudonym of The Reflektors, you just knew it was going to be a special night.
After a miltary style operation to secure tickets (they sold out in 5 minutes), we could start looking forward to the show. The fact there was only 2 weeks from buying the tickets to the first night, seemed to heighten the anticipation and the sense of occasion, especially as the tickets stipulated formal attire or fancy dress were mandatory.
The Barrowlands when tweeting the stage times, hinted that there might be a wee surprise in store for those turning up early, so for the first time in years, we got there early and queued up. It was a magical sight seeing so many people in tuxedos and bow ties, clown suits, Super Mario, and even God was there.
There were rumours that the band would come out and play a song to the crowd, sadly this didn’t happen, but when a stretched limo rolled, everyone waited with baited breath. A Mexican mariachi band came out, followed by the band, or at least people wearing paper mache heads of the band. Then the first couple of hundred fans, us included, got invited up to the ballroom to rehearse a choreographed routine to be played out during “We Exist”, it was quite a sight, a skeleton leading a couple of hundred dressed up Scots through a dance routine, not your normal gig!
There was a real buzz about the crowd, a sense that we were the lucky ones that managed to get tickets, knowing glances were exchanged between dressed up punters awaiting the bands arrival, the paper mache band danced with the crowd as the anticipation grew.
There was a large black curtain covering the stage with The Reflektors logo projected onto it. Around 2030, this dropped to reveal the band, all wearing masks. The set kicked off straight into the current single, Reflektor, then straight into Flashbulb Eyes. With Reflektor being the bands 4th studio album, they have a large back catalogue to pick from, next up was Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out) from 2004’s Funeral.
The set was loaded with songs from Reflektor, it’s a different sound from the band, with the influence of James Murphy being obvious, the new work has a great life and vibrancy to it and it works really well live, the crowd danced its way through You Already Know, We Exist, complete with the choreographed moves from earlier, It’s Never Over and Afterlife, complete with acapella intro, before they took us back to 2010’s The Suburbs with Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), the older stuff was being lapped up by the crowd.
Next up was Normal Person, where Butler suggested that if anyone fancied crowd surfing, the chorus would be a good time to do so, he wouldn’t have been disappointed as a few eager fans duely obliged. Next up, Win donned a huge paper mache head to rock through a cover of DEVO’s Uncontrollable Urge, then the set closed with Here Comes The Night Time, as the crowd danced as one to the Haitian grooves as glitter cannons exploded overhead.
After a short rest, the band were back on for the encore, first up was Haiti. Then Win announced that they had been saving this for a special occasion, before launching into Wake Up, the crowd went crazy for this one, it hadn’t been played at the previous two London shows or any of the warm up shows, and it sounded massive, the whole venue was dancing and bouncing as one. Fans could be heard singing it long into the night as we walked back to get our train.
The whole night was amazing, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a better gig, but it wasn’t just a gig, it was an experience, the sense of occasion that built from the tickets going on sale, through the fancy dress shopping ensured this was never going to be just a gig, but a night I’ll never forget.
Full Set List
2. Flashbulb Eyes
3. Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
4. Joan of Arc
5. You Already Know
6. We Exist
7. It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
9. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) 10. Normal Person
11. Uncontrollable Urge (DEVO cover)
12. Here Come The Night Time
14. Wake Up