Saturday, 29 November 2014

Italia 2014 - 3 gigs in 3 days - Day 2 - Arcade Fire in Rome

I've been meaning to see Arcade Fire live since The Suburbs album, but never quite had the chance. I remember there was a great gig that I missed at Hyde Park in 2010? Or was it 2011? Anyway, I was lucky that they were playing the day after The Rolling Stones, in the same city.
So first thing in the morning I had to move to another hostel closer to the train station (Roma Termini) as opposed to Circo Massimo. Then I had to figure out how to get to Ippodromo Delle Capannelle. All I knew was that Bruce Springsteen had played there last year. So as soon as I had identified the proper train to take, I was on my way there.
The first thing I noticed once I got out at the station was that the place was quite outside Rome. Plus the venue was quite a few minutes walk from the station.

There would be night buses going back to the city though and I identified the correct bus stop. As soon as I got to the venue though, I found a kiosk from which I could buy a ticket back to the city, on a special last train, after all the other trains had gone. So, with no worries about heading back I was ready to have a beer, walk around the venue and enjoy the gig.

First on the stage were the support band, Antibalas, "a Brooklyn-based afrobeat band that is modeled after Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band and Eddie Palmieri's Harlem River Drive Orchestra" as they are described in Wikipedia.
And then it was time for what we were all waiting for: Arcade Fire. So there they were on stage but... wait a minute that's not them! That's a fake band wearing "bobbleheads". 
We realize that just as the real Arcade Fire get up on stage kicking the fake ones out. "I'm sorry, they keep doing that" says Win Butler before the band launch into "Normal Person" from the new album "Reflektor". 

And yes, the new album is as good or even better than "The Suburbs". I never expected to say this, but testament to that is the response the title track receives from the audience when it's played next. 

And yes, they play "The Suburbs" and "Ready To Start" but the song from the previous album that gets the crowd dancing is "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) at the end of the proper set.
It's not a gig anymore, it's a party. And yes there are some effects like the Reflektor robot, but these complement the music, they're not meant to grab your attention away from it. And that's the precise moment that I realize that we're never going to see this band in Greece...
And so the encore kicks off with a guest appearance by the Pope! Unfortunately it's a fake one with a bobblehead and I think it was Win Butler behind the mask. 
But then the party continues with "Here Comes The Night Time".
So it was over and then there was the long(ish) walk back to the train station with the other fans as in the end we gathered sitting on the platform waiting for the train. And on the opposite platform were those who were going to the airport.

And upon coming back to the hostel, I realized that it was full of Arcade Fire fans, who had come to Rome for the concert. As I was sitting in the lobby drinking my beer, there were people playing Reflektor on their mobiles and explaining about Arcade Fire to those that didn't know them...

Rebellion (Lies)
(intro played by fake band)
01.Normal Person
02. Reflektor
03. Flashbulb Eyes
04. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
05. Rebellion (Lies)
06. Joan Of Arc
07. Month of May
08. The Suburbs
09. Ready To Start
10. Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
11. No Cars Go
12. We Exist
13. Afterlife
      (w/ 'My Body Is a Cage' intro)
14. It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
      (Régine on B-stage)
15. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
      ('Damian Taylor Remix' intro)
Pie Jesu
(played over PA, with Pope bobblehead)
16. Here Comes the Night Time
17. Keep the Car Running
18. Wake Up

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