This photo recap is dedicated to my good friend Ebru Yildiz, who is truthfully one of the most talented people that I know.
Wow…what a show. Yes Arcade Fire are a massive band, yes they played an arena, and yes arenas are massive but I have to say it: Arcade Fire are a band that not only places great music live but they also know how to make a massive space feel intimate, which is what they achieved at Barclays Center last weekend. I somewhat expected this would be the case because of the nature of their current album campaign; the carnival theme for Reflektor, but it’s still a completely engrossing feeling entering a venue like the Barclays Center and actually feeling the transformation from massive sports arena to dance party central. Masks, suits, suits of tinfoil, feathered hats and wild glasses; the fans of Arcade Fire have clearly welcomed this tour with open arms. After being a fan of Arcade Fire for the past couple of years it was a brilliant thing to finally photograph them live, especially with all the surprises that they had in store. Something that has to be said is the biggest surprise I experienced that night, which was the sheer punk attitude the Canadian rockers exerted on stage. I love punk, I truly do, and one of the most incredible things about punk is how anything can go during a show. Sure, Arcade Fire are an ‘indie’ rock band in terms of presentation, but seeing them play in-front of thousands of people while (literally) tossing instruments to one another was fucking incredible. Those are the bands that impress me the most, the ones that can change things up at a seconds notice, and the bands that try to battle repetition as much as possible.
That’s what’s made this tour such an exciting spectacle, the way Arcade Fire plays, the way they rely on one another, the way they rely on their fans; it’s all a massive collective that works in unison to create a show like no other. Getting to photograph something like that, of both scale and power, is such a hard thing to wrap ones head around. I can still remember how awestruck I felt just waiting for the band to go on due to the crowd’s anticipation. It overwhelmed me, both in an exciting and frightening way, it happened without me even noticing it and once I did notice it the curtain fell. The show itself was a wild maelstrom of sounds, colours, and energy that continuously poured out throughout the sets entirety. Sure there were some typical NYCisms that bugged me about this show (come on New Yorkers, it doesn’t hurt to dance during a gig) but for the most part this was just a perfect night in so many ways. Arena gigs can be quite hit or miss for me but this show will always be a standout for me because it felt like I finally saw a band that understood the disconnect that arenas could be, and the band seemingly attempted to battle that disconnect. Win spent just as much time on the extended platform than he did on stage, whenever he was on there he made it a key thing to stare at peoples faces, touch their hands, phones, and anything he could. Seeing the entire band dance off stage towards the GA section at the end of the night was such a brilliant cap off on an already brilliant evening. The thunderous singing during set-ender Wake Up was a shining example of what this gig was: a massive spectacle that everyone in attendance was a part of. Beautiful job Arcade Fire, beautiful fucking job. Enjoy my photos from the gig below.
Be sure to check out Arcade Fire’s latest album, Reflektor, which is out now!
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