Wednesday, October 18, 2017

LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: Arcade Fire @ TD Garden 09.15.17

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LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: Arcade Fire @ TD Garden 09.15.17

On Friday night, TD Garden in Boston, MA played host to the fourth date of Arcade Fire’s Infinite Content World Tour. Arcade Fire is currently touring in support of their latest album, “Everything Now” which was released in July. “Everything Now” sees the band picking up where they left off with “Reflektor” and in fact going a lot further down that dance-rock disco influenced sound.

In terms of live performance, the band has taken things to a new level, with their most ambitious live production to date. The current tour sees the band performing ‘in the round’ shows in arenas, in a center stage setup decorated to look like a boxing ring. It seems like something a concert promoter would have tried in the 1970’s in an attempt to squeeze more fans into their arena. But it’s also very modern with a stellar light show and visual production.

The show begins with a bombastic introduction that sees the band introduced as if they were boxers entering the ring for a prize fight complete with the walk-in through the audience and all. Opening the show with “Everything Now” the title track on their latest record, the band came out to loud cheers and took their positions all over the stage, frequently moving about the stage to give fans on all four sides of ‘the ring’ a chance to interact with the band.

The whole thing is a stark contrast to how the band began in the early 2000’s as a mostly indie-folk outfit with a whole army of traditional instruments. There’s still a lot of instruments but they’re more diverse now, call it growing up, maturing or just realizing that the whole acting ‘too hip for the mainstream while being a mainstream success’ troupe has fallen out of style.

Arcade Fire is a band who has never hesitated to poke fun at themselves, over the years, and the undertones of the show proved that. There were cheesy infomercial style announcements and videos flashed on their video boards prior to taking the stage, pitching their merch with everything but the voice of the late Billy Mays. It’s a satirical campaign and commentary on how the band is now part of the mainstream they once rejected.

The tour is far from the first time Arcade Fire has gone the satirical marketing route, earlier this year the group facetiously announced they were selling $110 Fidget Spinners with a USB drive that contained the bands’ new album only to reveal the products had sold out instantly completely trolling their fan base and sending all the hip indie blogs into a frenzy. In true Arcade Fire fashion, they had Fidget Spinners at their merch table on Friday night, though slightly more affordable without the USB stick at $5.

The band now signed with Columbia Records have gone from rejecting the mainstream, to embracing it. Their newest album “Everything Now” debuted at Number 1. On the Billboard 200 and has received a generally favorable reception, save for a faction of indie rock DIY loyalists who were unhappy with the direction the band has gone in.

The majority of their fan base still loves them enough that the band can play at the arena level now, Friday’s set was tailor-made for the new polished and ready to be sold Arcade Fire era with 8 songs from the new album, 4 from the similar but different “Reflektor” album released in 2013, and a handful of their older songs with a few more bells & whistles. The show was mostly light-hearted and fun, while also earnest and sincere showing they still believe in the music they’re making and that having artistic integrity and a successful music career are not mutually exclusive.

Photos: Arcade Fire @ TD Garden 09/15/17