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Arcade Fire gave me ‘Everything Now and More’

by Tashfina Rahman, Staff Writer

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I’ve been to countless shows and concerts in my lifetime, but the chance to see one of my favorite bands of all time, Arcade Fire, had always slipped away from me.

Since their 2014 Reflektor tour, they have only ever played at ridiculously expensive and inaccessible music festivals.  

Therefore, you can only “Imagine” my excitement when I saw that they were coming to Viejas Arena on Oct. 18.

I remember being just ten years old when Arcade Fire released their second full album, “Neon Bible,” and hearing my older sister play it on repeat down the hall.

After finding out the name of the mysterious album I always heard, I instantly fell in love with the rest of their discography.

I waited for Oct. 18 anxiously for months after buying my general admission ticket. Then, the day finally came and I made my boyfriend show up to Viejas with me three hours early so I could be as close to the stage as possible.

As soon as the doors opened at 6:30 p.m., I ran down the steep stairs of Viejas and I got my coveted spot right behind the barricade.

The huge arena was bathed in a sea of blue and white light, coming from giant disco balls.

The general admission floor had barely filled up, as well as the arena, when opening act Angel Olsen came out to perform.

While I was more excited for Arcade Fire, Olsen absolutely killed it with her six piece band who all came out in matching grey suits. While her set was short, she made sure to include fan favorites like “Give It Up” and “Shut Up and Kiss Me.”

After Angel Olsen finished up her brief eight song set, the general admission floor and the rest of the arena quickly filled up in anticipation for Arcade Fire.

Their team began setting up a very elaborate looking stage, in the style of a boxing ring.

About a half hour went by and around 8:55 p.m., strobe lights starting flashing all around the arena and suspenseful music began playing.

I could already tell this concert was going to be highly produced and I was very excited to stray away from the smaller, low-key indie shows I usually attend.

After a few minutes, the band began to enter the arena. As they entered, spotlights flashed upon each member of the band, while an announcer said their names and weights, sticking to the boxing theme.

Since bigger bands like Arcade Fire aren’t usually very interactive with fans, everyone was surprised when they walked right through the crowd, touching hands and smiling at everyone.

It felt surreal seeing my musical idols, Winn Butler and Regine Chassagne, the founding members of Arcade Fire, right in front of me.

Not only did they stand in front of me, but Winn Butler grabbed my hand right before getting on stage and I felt my ten-year-old self nearly cry, while my twenty-year-old self did my best to hold it together.

The band instantly brought an insane amount of energy to the stage.

They began the show with the song, “Everything Now,” a single off their most recent album, “Infinite Content.”

This made me weary that they would mainly play music from their new album, which I, along with many others, had not been extremely fond of.

However, their unfortunate awareness regarding the criticism of their new album from both fans and reviews, caused them to play a variety of old hits, to my contentment. Three songs in and the band began to play one of their most popular songs, “Rebellion.” All the die-hard fans, including myself, began to scream with excitement.

It’s important to mention that a large part of the Arcade Fire concert experience also came from it’s amazing production.

With each song, beautiful and vibrant lights would envelope the stage.

The stage was also rotating, which made it possible for people to have a good view from basically any part of the arena.

After taking a hiatus from touring, the band certainly pulled out all the stops to create an incredible show for their fans.

The band played a variety of songs from all of their albums. My personal favorites were “Neon Bible, “Sprawl II” and “The Suburbs.”

A beautiful, intimate scene was created during “Neon Bible” as Winn played it alone, accompanied by his guitar and a sea of cellphone lights. On the other hand, the band created a literal disco during “Sprawl II,” between giant disco balls, flashing pink lights and Regine dancing with colorful streamers.

It seemed as though every single person in that crowd had to be dancing during that song.

As soon as they began to play “The Suburbs” and Winn sang the famous lyrics, “In the suburbs, I learned to drive,” I instantly became nostalgic, thinking of the small Orange County suburb I grew up in.

I never cared for the suburbs, but Arcade Fire had me tearing up thinking about them. This concert was nothing short of an emotional roller coaster for me.

I thought this night couldn’t get any better until a security guard walked up to me and handed me a piece of paper. I was confused and even a little bit worried until I opened up the folded up piece of paper and saw that I had been given the band’s personal set-list. I had no idea why I had been chosen to receive such an incredible gift, but I certainly wasn’t complaining.

For their final encore, the band played their most popular song, “Wake Up.”

As thousands of fans chanted the song, you could even see the band members in awe of the legacy they’ve created with their music.

Winn, near tears, thanked the crowd for coming and the band danced out of the arena.

While I’ve been to plenty of shows and I’ll probably go to many more in the future, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget my Arcade Fire experience.

This long awaited concert exceeded my expectations and the energy I felt in Viejas Arena that night was absolutely electrifying.

If you ever want to attend a giant, emotional dance party, I would definitely recommend attending an Arcade Fire concert if you ever get the chance.

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