Thursday, May 3

Arcade Fire 5-1-2007 @ Atlanta Civic Center

Photo courtesy of Radio Cure

Let me begin by saying I've never really been on the Arcade Fire bandwagon -- I think they're a talented act worth paying attention to, but I've never really understood the level of hype surrounding them. I'd been told for quite a while that I'd change my mind once I saw them live, but I passed up a couple opportunities to do so before attending Tuesday night's show at the Atlanta Civic Center. In the end, I'll say that I wasn't swayed one way or the other but I can see why others might be nutso for the band.

I was told that some 4,000 tickets were sold for the show, and the Civic Center reminded me somewhat of a massive high school auditorium. The National opened the night, playing an enjoyable if somewhat slow-paced set during which I thought the sound could have been better. Unfortunately, the house was only about half-occupied while they were on stage and I heard more than one person in my vicinity utter some variation of "Who the hell are these guys/The National?" during the set. Sigh.

As for the Arcade Fire set, my general take is that it was quite enjoyable but didn't really put to rest my pre-show puzzlement. Others I spoke to labeled it "amazing" and/or the best show they'd ever seen, however, so perhaps I'm the exception. They played versions of songs from Funeral and Neon Bible that were faithful to their recorded output, and judging from the audience participation I'm guessing that was generally applauded.

Personally, I was particularly impressed with "My Body is a Cage," the "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" > "Rebellion (Lies)" combo, and first encore "Intervention." They're certainly an intense and energetic act, and I enjoyed watching the players interact and seeing members bounce from one instrument to another during the set. The band also won Brownie points from the crowd by inviting everyone to surge toward the front after "Neigborhood #1 (Tunnels)." Their percussionist also scaled a sort of retaining wall in the audience during one of the songs, but I've forgotten when. Any help?

As noted below, I did tape the show. You can grab .mp3 files of the full show in a 98mb .zip file (via Sendspace, and a backup link in case that one dies) or sample a few tracks below. Lossless (.flac) files are available via The Trader's Den. The relevant info:

The Arcade Fire
May 1, 2007
Atlanta Civic Center
Atlanta, GA

Taped: SP CMC-4's > batt box > Nomad Jukebox 3
Location: Left side, rear of orchestra section
Conversion: JB3 > Gateway MT6451 > Cool Edit Pro 2 > CD Wave > .mp3

01. religious lady rant > Black Mirror
02. banter
03. No Cars Go
04. Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
05. Haiti
06. banter
07. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
08. My Body is a Cage
09. banter
10. Windowsill
11. banter
12. The Well & The Lighthouse
13. Ocean of Noise
14. Neigborhood #1 (Tunnels)
15. applause/banter
16. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) >
17. Rebellion (Lies)
18. applause/banter
19. Keep the Car Running
20. applause/banter
- encore -
21. Intervention
22. applause
- encore 2 -
23. Wake Up

Radio Cure has a more extensive review of the show, as well as more pics and some video.


Blogger robbie dee said...

first off, thanks so much for posting the show, rich. i had a great time there and it was a great way to come back to down (i was at coachella for the weekend). i'm sure your recording is excellent!

secondly, it's good to hear someone else's opinion on the band that ISN'T gushing in their favor. granted, i'm one of those people you were referring to (i won't stop saying how life-changing the band is upon seeing them live), but at least you don't slam them just because you don't subscribe to them the way the majority does. i'm glad to know that you had an enjoyable time at their show and got to see how experiential the band is.

2:27 AM

Blogger Rich said...

Re: the recording... I won't say this one is excellent. It's pretty good, not great. But I doubt anybody'd get a great tape out of that room. If somebody did, I'd love to hear about it.

About the other stuff... I take it as a given that musical preferences are subjective. Doesn't bother me that other people appreciate them, even if I don't fully agree with the sentiment. I don't dislike them at all, it's just odd to me that they're so *very* highly regarded. Lots and lots of other bands I enjoy more. Then again, there are a lot of prominent "indie" acts I feel the same way about. You'll probably notice they're largely absent from the blog's content...

2:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arcade Fire: A Neon Bible Study [21 Questions and Answers]
By David Buckna


3:11 AM

Blogger Ryan said...

I thought the show was terrific, but I was lucky enough to have 5th row seats, in the middle, so it was easy to forget that I was in the civic center. I love the energy they played with and all the activity on stage.

That said, I do think they're a little overrated. That's not an indictment of them at all as they are a fantastic band. But there is just so much gushing about them from other bloggers, who seem to try to out-do each other to see who can praise the band more. I read one review of neon bible by one blogger who actually talked about two periods of music in his life...before and after Neon Bible. It's a fine album but it's not an evolutionary leap like say OK Computer or Homogenic.

8:36 AM

Blogger Paulie said...

I would have gone if not for the ticket price. IMO Arcade Fire haven't done enough to warrant a $30+ ticket price.

8:41 AM

Blogger jam said...

I'm with you 100%. Saw them at Coachella in '05 and I didn't get it then. Still don't get it. But it's art so it's subjective. As a fellow musician friend put it, "It's like telling a painter he used the wrong purple."

10:37 AM

Anonymous Andrew said...

$30?? In this age of nostalgia acts and other arena shows charging hundreds of dollars for a single seat, Arcade Fire for $30 is a bargain of a lifetime. Get real.

10:42 AM

Blogger Rich said...

Paulie can speak for himself, but I imagine those "nostalgia acts" probably have long, distinguished careers behind them. And who charges "hundreds of dollars" beyond, say, the best seats in the house other than the Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Clapton, etc.? It's not even reasonable to put AF that company yet.

I see great bands multiple times a week for $5-$15. What was Sebadoh a few weeks ago? Like $14? How is $32.50 + charges a bargain? It might be the going rate for a show like that, but when that becomes a bargain I'll swear off "big" shows altogether (forgiving inflation, of course).

I'm really curious. I mean, I paid that much for Modest Mouse this weekend but sure didn't consider it a bargain...

11:04 AM

Blogger AmyMeacham said...

We humans forget it's all subjective. Their album Funeral moves me to tears because I got it during some family health crises and could relate intensely to the subject. I'm not gonna agree with anybody on everything they like or hate and that's my right. I guess bands charge what they can, but many of my favorite musical experiences have happened in the basement at house parties..

12:44 PM

Anonymous Kim said...

I ignored Funeral for a year because of all the hype surrounding it. Then when I finally got it I was hooked. I thought it was a fantastic show, not the best show I've ever seen (that would be Beck or the Flaming Lips) but damn entertaining... I'm just happy to see a band on an indie (well... is Merge still considered indie?) get so much attention.

Hope to see you tonight at the EARL Rich!

12:46 PM

Blogger Rich said...

I should be there Kim. I have some paperwork to fill out for my new job tonight, but should have that all squared away by the time I head for East Atlanta.

12:51 PM

Blogger Frank said...

Have to respectfully disagree on the Arcade Fire, Rich -- I think they're among the best bands in the world right now, and that show only firmed up my feelings about them -- but I completely concur that The National didn't get the respect from the crowd that they deserve. They are a terrific band, and hopefully their new record will broaden their audience. You assume that the AF will attract this throng of indie hipsters, but then you get there and it's mostly annoying frat boys who don't have a clue who The National are. Fortunately, my crowd that night was almost as fired up for The National and they ere for the Arcade Fire, so we arrived early and cheered loudly.

1:17 PM

Blogger Rich said...

Well, remember it's a disagreement of degree rather than kind. I never said they're not a very good band. I'm just puzzled why they're sooooo adored. Not asking for an answer, just sayin'.

1:37 PM

Anonymous eli said...

Thanks for taping and sharing the show. It's greatly appreciated.

2:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the audio and the link to Radio Cure. Here is another review I've found:

3:36 PM

Anonymous brandon said...

nice, rich...way to be polarizing!

here's my blather - AF is a great band...both their albums are exceptional, and they put on a damn good live show. BUT...

rule of thumb...i'm only paying $30 to see a singular band if said band and/or its band members are closer to death than i am (case in point - dino jr., gang of four, x, sonic youth, etc. - assuming a death by natural causes, of course). and i've got at least a decade on those whipper snappers in arcade fire.

plus, i saw sunset rubdown tear it up at the drunken unicorn on monday, thereby fulfilling my canadian quota for the week (that was a mere $8).

(side note on canadians - go see frog eyes when they come to town)

4:02 PM

Blogger Valerie said...

To answer the question you posed - Will Butler climbed up the wall into the balcony at the end of Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) - before they went into Rebellion (Lies). The Arcade Fire likes to put parentheses (in their song titles).

5:50 PM

Blogger Paulie said...

I don't get into paying "hundreds" of dollars for "nostalgia acts" either. In my world Arcade Fire doesn't have the catalog to warrant $30+. It's what I believe.

I'd rather pay $10-15 and see a band I don't know play at The EARL or at Drunken Unicorn. To me it's money better spent.

If you want to pay and you enjoy then more power to you. As for me I don't feel I missed out.

10:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help! The songs are all cut off at the end of the mp3s. Thanks for posting them though and for any help you can provide.

--Andy M

10:25 AM

Blogger Rich said...

There's no reason they should be. It's probably a software issue. Try a different player and see what happens.

10:28 AM

Blogger Paul said...

I had buyer remorse when I bought tickets. It wasn't till The National was announced as openers that I started to get excited.

Arcade Fire are a great live act but it doesn't make me want to go back and listen to their albums or something.

2:19 PM

Anonymous Brandon said...

re: songs being cut off: this happened to me, too, in iTunes on a mac. But if you import them one at a time and then play each one, they keep playing to the end of the track. Worked for me, at least.

And FWIW, My review of the show is here. I agree with Rich, mostly.

4:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re; songs cutting off. Any chance it is because both Sendspace links point to 91 Mb zip files, but your post says it should be 98 Mb? Just a thought.

5:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I apologize. I managed to convert the files to Aiffs, and the endings have reappeared. Thanks again for taping & sharing, sorry I was so quick to assume that you had posted a bad zip file or something. -- Andy M.

6:26 PM

Blogger Rich said...

Andy -- How strange.... ?

Oh, and I think my 98mb figure is just wrong. Good catch. I'm looking at the file right now and it says 93,397 KB. No idea why Sendspace says 91mb.

brandon, thanks for the link to your review.

11:43 AM

Blogger The Falconer said...

I enjoyed the show, but I think that the sound is hurt by the fact that most of the time you have 10+ people on stage emitting sound. I love bands that add brass and/or strings to songs, but having brass and stings on EVERY song is a bit counterproductive. As a former trumpet player I was actively listening for the brass and at times they were simply buried beneath all that collective noise. I think they would sound much better if they pruned down the sound now and then within songs. That's my opinion, obviously many people love them just the way they are now.

4:42 PM

Blogger Mike said...

I did not go to this show because I did not want to pay high dollar for assigned seating. I saw them in early 2005 at the Variety Playhouse, I was in the front and it was amazing. After seeing them in a smaller place right against the stage it is hard to pay 3x more to be way in the back, I guess i am spoiled. i did get their tour EP that is hand made which is pretty sweet (they have since remastered and re-released it on merge). I took photos of the Variety Playhouse show and to my suprise they haven't received many views on my website. It was back in my point and shoot camera days so the quality isn't the best, but you get the idea.

click here to see them

10:58 AM


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