The Arcade Fire | 05.20.07

live_arcadeTheir music reminded me of a hot, steamy summer's night in an urban jungle, where the Sharks and Jets are about to rumble through the New York City streets.





Chicago Theatre, Chicago

Am I trapped in my high school body, ready to take the ACT again, or am I five minutes away from seeing one of my favorite bands? My heart is pounding and I'm in a cold sweat as I highly anticipate the lights in the magnificent Chicago Theatre going down.

We all know the story of the Arcade Fire, but if you are one of the select few who are slightly unsure of what happened, here's their tale: The Arcade Fire was little known; they released Funeral in 2004; David Bowie mentioned them; they became the biggest indie-rock band since Sonic Youth; and then they released their sophomore album, Neon Bible, in March of this year. After that stint, the Arcade Fire became the biggest unknown band in (perhaps) all of history.

So, that's why I am so excited about this concert. Before this moment, I sat through a much-too-long set of a band named Electrelane. They were a good four-piece, consisting of three girls and a girlish-looking boy. In short, their music reminded me of a hot, steamy summer's night in an urban jungle, where the Sharks and Jets are about to rumble through the New York City streets.

But really, while this band was good…come on, we were all waiting for the Fire. Even during Electrelane's set, all of the Arcade Fire's equipment quietly loomed in the background of the stage, bathed in blue light, anxiously awaiting a third night of use in Chicago. When the lights finally went down, we screamed. Loudly. A manic preacher was cast onto circular screens that were scattered on the stage, but no one cared. The band took the stage and instantly launched into "Wake Up." Goosebumps quickly sprung all over my body. I was hearing this song that is literally all about the human condition, and people growing up and everything as we know it changing, and all I can do is cry after the line "our bodies get bigger, but our hearts get torn up."

It was amazing. A cliché, yes. But amazing all around.

The rest of the night was just as astounding. After their stunning premiere song, the band tore through "Keep the Car Running," "Antichrist Television Blues," "Black Mirror," and a stupefying amount of other phenomenal songs. During "My Body Is a Cage," frontman Win Butler climbed onto the upper stage where the organ stood, and played the song from there, while the spotlight still focused on a cardboard cutout of himself. I believed it when he told me his body was a cage, but it seemed as though he had found a way to beat the system.

"Laika" was played and we all screamed the lyrics. "Intervention" was performed and we stomped our feet, closed our eyes, and felt the vibrations in our souls. Every song was a special treat, perfectly executed to the point of perfection. We ate it up with spoons, greedily licking our fingers and then howling for more when they were finished. Perhaps the best part was just being there, witnessing the music, feeling the shivers fly through my body, and realizing that I believed every word Win, Regine, and Co. sang to me. | Kaylen Hoffman

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