Neon Bible (John) at the Barrowlands Ballroom.
By rights, The Arcade Fire should be one of the biggest bands in the world and musically are more than capable of filling stadiums. Having so many members on stage should allow them to make a massive sound but there is a spirit and warmth that comes from the show that manages to transcend pure numbers of people. Of course, they don't play by the rules expected of such bands so they probably won't make it to the stadium filling events they are capable of but that doesn't mean they are any less beguiling or wonderful.
In fact, in a way, it makes them even more amazing.
For all the charm and spirit they embody, and who could fail to smile at Regine Chassagnes robotic dancing and high-pitched yelps, theres a ferociously tight band on stage and this was evident from the evenings first track.
'Keep The Car Running' has a rhythm akin to the chugging of a train on the tracks and the feeling that the gig was powering up from this point was evident, reaching fever pitch after every chorus, with the backing vocals being bellowed back from a packed audience.
The quality of the backing vocals and the non-lyrical melodies are an area that screams out that The Arcade Fire are perfect for the main stages and mass media, simply put, if U2, Coldplay or REM released this form of record, it would be heralded as the greatest thing ever and every household in the country would have it or have an awareness of it. Beyond the accordions, beyond the loudspeakers, beyond hitting a stick off a motorcycle crash helmet, the songs are of immense quality with an anthemic rush and all-encompassing feel that should be able to sweep everyone along with it in its undertow.
New material interwove with classics from 'Funeral' easily but unsurprisingly, it was the debut albums hits that earned the rapturous welcome. After the slow-paced 'Neon Bible' track calmed the crowd to an excited murmur, few could predict (if they hadn't saw previous shows or been aware of the track-listing) of the almighty one-two that was to come in the shape of 'Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)' and 'Rebellion (Lies).'
Back-to-back, it was an awesome spectacle with sound and light coming together to dazzle and stun the audience briefly, if only for the community sing-song of 'Rebellion (Lies)' to take the evening to raised heights.
Recent criticism of the band has came in the fact that they have developed a Springsteen-esque vibe to their sound, and certainly on songs like 'Intervention', there is the nagging feeling of The Boss having an influence on them but this only further enhances their entitlement to be credited as being massive.
With the evening climaxing with 'Wake Up' and lead man Win Butler diving into the crowd and then journeying directly to the back of the hall where he turned and watched his band. Although every member on stage has the pleasure of knowing they are in The Arcade Fire, they don't get the pleasure that is watching The Arcade Fire. For just a few seconds Butler achieved both of these emotions and could feel rightly proud of himself...for all that was achieved that night.
Arcade Fire could be the biggest band in the world but they'll probably never play that game. God bless them for that.