Arcade Fire warmed up for their headline slot at Glastonbury in inimitable style over the weekend as they played two shows at London’s Earls Court arena (June 6 and 7).
At the band’s first show, frontman Win Butler spoke about the band’s reasons for playing the venue, commenting: “We wanted to do Earls Court before they tear it down for condos. Get your bids in now. Hope they’re cheap.” In 2012 an online petition was launched to ‘save’ the venue, opposing plans to demolish the centre as part of redevelopment plans for the area.
Before Arcade Fire took to the stage the arena was transformed into a giant discoteque – featuring spotlights and glitter balls. The set, which saw the band play for more than two hours, gave fans some insight into the setlist the band may perform when they headline Glastonbury Festival on Friday June 27.
The production featured a figure wearing a human reflective mirror and a troop of dancers, who appeared on a secondary stage among the crowd. Despite opening with title track ‘Reflektor’ from their 2013 album, the first half of the show largely concentrated on older material including ‘Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) ‘ ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and ‘The Suburbs’.
The band were also joined onstage by Ian McCulloch to perform the 1983 Echo and the Bunnymen track ‘The Cutter.
The encore started with a mariachi band – wearing Arcade Fire papier mâché heads – perform a version of The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ on a platform in the middle of the venue before being interrupted by Arcade Fire starting their encore back on the Main Stage. They closed the show with ‘Wake Up’, and the audience were still singing the melody as they filed out of the arena.
Speaking from the stage before ‘No Cars Go’ Win Butler, with a black strip painted across his face and wearing a white suit, said: “We only put out a record every four years or so it feels really special to be here. You guys have been amazing.”
At the Canadian band’s second show at the venue (Saturday night), meanwhile, the band covered the track ‘London’ by The Smiths, which was the B-side of the 12-inch release of the 1987 single ‘Shoplifters of the World Unite’.
Arcade Fire, who were supported by Lorde at their second Earls Court gig, are also set to play a huge show at London’s Hyde Park on July 3.