It's so humid out that everyone is starting to sweat from standing in line in front of Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. The massive crowd is an unusual scene for the Park Slope located banquet hall, known more for hosting weddings and not so much concerts. Under normal conditions this venue would never draw such a long line at 5PM on a Thursday, but tonight isn't normal by any means – tonight the fans are here to see Arcade Fire
The show was presented and live streamed by Apple Music and tickets were free to anyone who was lucky enough to win an online raffle. There was some controversy when the raffle was opened as strict dress code guidelines were posted, stating that if you were attending you must dress "hip and trendy". The band later clarified this was not of their doing and would not be adhered to, even going as far as going out to the line and passing out sandals to waiting fans (one of the items on the not-allowed list).
We were ushered in a slow but consistent pace into the venue, its elegance hard to miss as the first thing to greet us was a massive chandelier hanging over a large staircase that looked like it came out of Beauty and the Beast.
After taking in the impressive sight we continued to a long room with many large doors and a bar with prices that matched the exuberance of Prospect Hall ($13 for a tiny mixed drink? I know it's a free show but come on). After a short but confusing wait in which no one was sure where we were going next, we were finally let in. I was shocked that people did not stampede the two doors that were open to us but instead marched inside in a mild manner. We did not rush at all and when we arrived at the stage setup in the center of the giant, multi-tiered banquet hall, we managed to secure front row spots to the show. Being up against the rail was much appreciated, but should have not made anyone in attendance envious as the way the stage was setup made it so there was not a bad spot in the entire place.
The audience was now in place but there was still an hour to kill as sound check happened prior to the 8:30 start time of the Apple Music live stream. I was so excited the time seemed to fly by and before I knew it the band was introduced to the stage in a sports-like manner, their albums and accolades being announced prior to their taking the stage like championships and titles won. The crowd made a small part and cheered as the band came running in and went right into an energetic rendition of Everything Now, the titular single off the album released today. From there the band set the pattern for the night, letting the crowd know they would be playing songs from every era of their catalogue, proceeding to play "Rebellion (Lies)" from Funeral
and "Here Comes the Night Time" from Reflektor
The band's stage presence was incredible as always. Every band member rotated their position on the circular stage, ensuring that all fans managed to get a good peek at them no matter where they were located in the hall. Win Butler seemed to find a home standing high atop of some instruments in the center of the stage, taking to this spot to accentuate the band's punchy lyrics, leading the crowd in reaching to the ceiling. Not to be outdone, Will Butler danced in such a frantic manner that could only be described as wild, banging and slapping any instrument he could find his hands on. Régine had several stand out moments, coming out as far into the crowd as the stage would allow to deliver the catchy chorus of "Electric Blue." If you could take a moment to stop dancing or singing along to the band's memorable lyrics there was always a site to behold from the band's large entourage.
There was not much banter with the crowd other than the usual words of appreciation for coming out. Prior to playing "We Exist," Win took a moment to speak about recent events in politics, remarking that he wished this whole situation was all a joke. He declared the band's acceptance of trans rights and the crowd erupted into applause that could only be understood as wholehearted agreement. It was a beautiful moment and the band closed out their set with Funeral
favorites "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" and "Wake Up," giving the crowd one last opportunity to sing and dance. They left the stage for a moment and returned to do an encore of the song "Neon Bible." All in all it was an incredible night and both the band and crowd felt right at home at this magnificent, intimate venue.