The band was announced as a surprise addition to the lineup on Thursday (April 14) and played at the desert festival’s Mojave tent.
Less than a minute into the set, frontman Win Butler stopped their new track ‘The Lightning, I’ after seeing a fan in the front of the pit who needed help. Butler then called for a medic, as the crowd erupted in cheers.
Later in the set, he acknowledged the moment and festival safety, telling the packed tent “If you see someone out of their mind on drugs, find a fucking doctor.”
The band took another pause during the set, which featured multiple previews from their yet to be released sixth album, ‘WE’.
Before playing their new song, ‘Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)’ Butler dedicated the track to his son. After beginning the first verse with the lyrics, “Look out kid, trust your heart”, Butler stopped, took a moment to wipe his eyes and stood back from the microphone. He then told the crowd, “it’s been a hard fucking year,” before starting from the beginning again.
Later, the band acknowledged the difficult past two years of the pandemic again, this time with the frontman saying, “We’re in a time of incredible change, but you can’t have it bring you fucking down.”
Butler also talked about the band’s history with the desert festival, sharing that Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett personally invited them to the event this year before talking about the band’s first time playing the festival.
“The first time we played here was in 2005 when we were children,” Butler said, adding that they were “not children anymore”.
Outside of the Arcade Fire set, the festival’s first day was full of surprises. Anitta took to Coachella’s main stage and was joined by two special guests, Snoop Dogg and Saweetie. Closing the night, Harry Styles was joined by surprise guest, Shania Twain.
Check back at NME all weekend for more reviews, news, interviews, photos and more from Coachella 2022.