Arcade Fire rock Consol Wednesday

By: Sam Fatula | Asst. A&E Editor

As Arcade Fire front man Win Butler towered over the crowd at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday, it was almost easy to forget what was happening around him on stage.

While the polarizing, 6-foot-4 Butler engaged the youthful fans with his haunting falsetto, surrounding him was a ceiling comprised of hexagonal mirrors, a pulsating light show and even images of politician Rick Santorum; just to name a few.

While every song had a different theatrical element throughout the night, each one was met with the same reaction from fans; applause, screams and chants for more.

In contrast, Butler and company remained relatively calm as the show progressed, making sure that they put on a quality performance versus a show solely based on vanity.

At the beginning of the two-hour set, fans were treated to a mysterious figure clad in an outfit that resembled a disco ball. This appearance occurred away from the main stage, taking everyone’s eyes off of where the Canadian band would be playing in a few minutes. The supposed distraction evidently worked, as suddenly a curtain dropped and Arcade Fire emphatically opened with the song “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” from their newly released album Reflektor.

The introductory song made for an interesting start, considering that the band set up two stages to perform with on opposite ends of the arena. Butler’s wife and singer Régine Chassagne began the night on separate stages, making for a compelling sequence when they were exchanging lyrical parts.

Butler made it immediately known that he wanted to interact with the audience as much as possible, even grabbing some of the fans’ iPhones to take selfies and record the reactions of the roaring crowd.

The 12-piece band continued on with a couple of other singles from their latest LP before Butler finally sat down next to a piano encased by mirrors and introduced himself and “The Arcade Fire.”

“You know, I didn’t live in a very cool place growing up,” said Butler when first addressing the crowd. “And by the looks of you guys, neither did you,” he said before going into “The Suburbs.”

The comical words from the singer opened up a track listing from previous works, including singles from the Grammy Award winning album The Suburbs (2010) and other works from Neon Bible (2006) and Funeral (2004).

The array in songs from different albums developed a solid variety in the process, and garnered the crowd’s constant attention. If that wasn’t enough for the fans that filled Consol, they were definitely immersed by the diversity of lights and conceptual visuals.

Not one song was visually represented in the same fashion. The mirror-plated ceiling was on hydraulics, which made for an interesting aspect when it would draw towards the band’s heads mid-song. Songs like “Reflektor” and “Afterlife” had miniature music videos projected behind the band, involving numerous colors for a psychedelic atmosphere. The rest of the band also got to be a large part of the act. Butler sported a black suit throughout the night that was plastered with globs of white paint, almost appearing like some sort of skeleton figure.

Later on in the set, the band continued to display a flair for the dramatic. Prior to continuing on with another song, a member of the band had brought out a character in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle T-shirt that wore a cube on his head that displayed images of Rick Santorum and the artist formerly known as Prince. Questionable people to use considering that they have no real connection with the band, but the audience didn’t seem to mind as the cheers got even louder.

The end of the night consisted of a shower of confetti and Arcade Fire’s anthem “Wake Up.” At that moment, the crowd was at their loudest, and Arcade Fire at their best. The dependent relationship between performer and audience was recognized, and the night was closed with ultimate satisfaction.