Arcade Fire at MSG

I caught a little bit of the Terry Gilliam-directed MSG live broadcast on YouTube last night and what I saw was pretty great.  Arcade Fire seemed completely at ease graduating into the “arena rock band” class last night.

For a moment there, it looked like Win Butler was just reciting from the Cheesy Arena Stage Banter Handbook (foreword by Paul Stanley). “This is my favorite part of the Garden, right here,” he said, grinning devilishly as he towered over and genuflected towards the fans clamoring at his feet. Why’s that, Win? Because they’re the fiercely loyal general-admission diehards who waited in line and threw elbows for the right to sing along to “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” while making eye contact with you? “Because it’s right here where Hakeem Olajuwon blocked John Starks’ shot so the Rockets could beat the Knicks in the 1994 finals!” the Houston-born Butler boasted. Cue: the only booing he will hear for a very long time.

Celebrating the release of your new album with two shows at Madison Square Garden takes some chutzpah. But to risk squandering that not-insubstantial goodwill and hospitality by kicking Knicks fans when they’re down? Pure swagger. Isn’t that a violation of some sort of indie doctrine?

The second concert kicks off tonight at 10 pm est, and once again will be broadcast as a live stream on YouTube.  Too bad opening band Spoon won’t have their set broadcast as well.

photo by Kyle Dean Reinford

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