Arcade Fire live at Edinburgh Corn Exchange
- Eoghan Scott
- 9 June 2017
Canadian art-rockers perform setlist any group would be lucky to call their greatest hits
For a group who could just as easily sell out stadiums or headline a festival any day of the week, it might appear surprising that Arcade Fire should choose to return to Edinburgh on such a small scale. For the lucky few to have nabbed tickets to the event, it is a night to remember, offering a rare occasion to see a huge presence in a close setting.
A world away from the elaborate productions common to their Reflektor era, the band perform with very few bells and whistles, bar the novelty of having a 360-degree stage setup. Walking through the crowd as the band enter, lead singer Win Butler stops short before getting up on stage to perform Funeral favourite 'Wake Up' from within the audience. Slipping gracefully back into the rhythm of things as if they'd never been away, the band demonstrate that they remain at the height of their powers five albums into their career.
Comeback single 'Everything Now' is played early in the set, already a firm favourite judging by its rapturous response, quickly followed by another new track, 'Signs of Life'. On 'Haiti', singer Régine Chassagne commands the room sounding both shaky and exuberant, and all the better for it.
Most of the gig comprises cuts from their previous four albums, aside from one more new track that again holds its own. It's a setlist any group would be lucky to call their greatest hits. Breakout songs 'Rebellion (Lies)' and 'Ready to Start' are performed with gusto, judging by the beads of sweat flying through the air; lesser-known tunes such as the title track from sophomore record Neon Bible are afforded rare outings. The band flit between instruments as often as they do songs, displaying their musical proficiency with guitarist Richard Reed Parry looking equally comfortable beating a drumkit or tickling the ivories as he does armed with his guitar. While Arcade Fire may be going gimmick-free for this tour, there's certainly no lacking in style – rhythms pulsate throughout the room, lights flash iridescent, and all the while they look like they're having a ball.
Finishing up with Chassagne singing 'Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)', the band bring things to a stunning crescendo, before leaving once again through the crowd and finally allowing the room to exhale.
Seen at Edinburgh Corn Exchange, Thu 8 June