“This is the last show of our tour,” Win Butler yells triumphantly as the many members of Arcade Fire stroll on stage at Life Is Beautiful. It’s been just over a year since the band released their latest album ‘Everything Now‘ amid a flurry of fake fidget spinner ads, mock reviews, and rumoured dress codes for shows. They’ve taken their performances into the round, playing in the middle of fans, and to the biggest festival stages in the world. Tonight (September 23) is a victory lap and it’s time to party.
The title track of their 2017 album kicks things off, a vibrant, slow-building dance that serves as an elegant amuse-bouche for the rest of the night ahead. ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ is as rousing as ever, with Will Butler ending it by smashing his drum into the floor. Régine Chassagne takes the lead on a gloriously glossy version of ‘Electric Blue’, and ‘Put Your Money On Me’ mixes Stranger Things synths with one of the most infectious hooks of the whole set.
“We played the last show on the ‘Funeral‘ tour in Vegas,” Win announces early on, explaining how ‘Everything Now”s message about capitalism collapsing in on itself made the city seem like the perfect choice to do the same thing nearly 13 years later. In the intervening time, Arcade Fire have added more politics to their music, their most recent record was imbued with commentary on the world in the digital age. Politics comes up a few times in their Life Is Beautiful performance, too. At one point, Win calls attention to Régine’s parents, praising her dad for fighting for America in the Vietnam War on a Haitian passport. “That’s a lot more than I can say for fucking President Trump,” he spits.
Before ‘The Suburbs’, the frontman reflects on the last time the band were in town, playing at Mandalay Bay a couple of weeks after the shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival. “This song goes out to anyone who was affected by that horrible fucking bullshit,” he says. “We gotta get rid of guns,” he adds, impassioned.
Feelings made clear, the set soon swings back to being one big party. A discoed-up version of ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’ finds Régine in sequin jumpsuit and waving plumes of ribbons, before pulling on a silver sequin cape to make herself look even more like a human disco ball for ‘Reflektor’. There’s an actual mirrored sphere hanging high above the band’s heads and it casts sparkling light across them and the sea of dancing fans in a moment of pure beauty. ‘Afterlife’ is interpolated with part of New Order‘s ‘Temptation’, and the main portion of the set comes to an end with brilliant, euphoric renditions of ‘Creature Comfort’ and ‘Power Out’.
A minute or two later, the troupe re-emerge from the wings for a couple more and an appreciative message. “Thank you for seeing us off in style, Vegas,” Win hollers as his bandmates launch into a reprise of ‘Everything Now’. It wouldn’t be an Arcade Fire show if it didn’t end with an almighty performance of ‘Wake Up’, or with the crowd singing its enlivening “Ahhhs” back at the band with all their hearts. Eventually, sadly, it’s time for things to come to an end for real. There’s a silver lining to that, though. With touring commitments over, Arcade Fire can get back to work on a record that will hopefully spark even better moments like tonight.
Arcade Fire played:
‘No Cars Go’
‘Put Your Money On Me’
‘Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)’
‘Ready To Start’
‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’
‘Everything Now (Continued)’