By Shannon Carlin & Scott Sterling
Arcade Fire seemed to be feeling rather feisty last night. A few songs into their set, which seemed to hit all four of their albums in just the right capacity, Win Butler got behind the piano to play “The Suburbs” and started thanking Coachella for inviting them back. A sweet gesture if he didn’t then continue by saying, he knew there was a lot of “fake V.I.P room bulls–t” going on at the festival, but that seemingly special are of the grounds “super sucks” and no one should care if they’re a part of it.
Butler would later come out and shout out all the bands who still play their instruments, perhaps a not so thinly veiled reference to the overwhelming amount of EDM acts on the bill this year.
But they weren’t just there to cry foul, they were there to perform for all their fans. Maybe quite specifically those who were hundreds of feet away even though they waited all day in the same spot instead of just walking through a separate entrance.
For this show, the band upped their stage presence and theatricality, even the on-stage camera man was wearing a ghostly get-up as not to stand out. Régine Chassagne also got her own little moments such as her posing fit as the object of affection during “Joan of Arc” and her move to a special platform out in the crowd so she could sing “It’s Never Over (Orpheus)” along with a smooth moving skeleton. Not to mention her duet with special guest Debbie Harry for a cover of her band Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Harry then stuck around to lend Chassagne a little help on “Sprawl II,” and even though poor Debbie didn’t always seem to know what she was exactly supposed to do–to be fair there’s a lot of things you can do with streamers–she went with it.
As time wound down, the band brought out their signature bobble heads, which on this night included Barack Obama and a smooth moving David Bowie, for a performance of “Here Comes The Night Time” before launching into “Wake Up.” At this point they were already working over time, but were determined to finish things out, even telling the crowd if the sound cuts out, keep singing.
The festival kept them plugged in until the end of the song, but the band wasn’t quite ready to stop, so they grabbed their instruments and joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who had already made their way into the crowd. The band walked around the field, playing “Wake Up” the whole time, with backup from the thousands who stuck around. The band then made their way out the V.I.P exit and onto the street where they continued to keep playing with the jazz band. All while those in the non-V.I.P section of the crowd just kept right on singing “Wake Up,” proving Butler’s point that it was just as fun out there.
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