To commemorate Arcade Fire’s amazing performance at the Xfinity Center (formerly Great Woods), I offer a few brief thoughts and a scrapbook worth of photos. This was my first time seeing them, definitely a band that had been on my “bucket list.” I knew it would be something grand and theatrical, but what I experienced went far beyond my expectations. The intensity of their music in that acoustically ideal amphitheater and the awe-inspiring stage show combined to create a breathtaking evening.
Musically, one’s point of reference shifted from song to song. When Régine Chassagne would take a turn at vocals, the mood turned towards ’80s synth-pop (my friend, also an Arcade Fire newbie, said “B-52s!” at one point); at other times there was an industrial feel, something more tribal or decidedly art-rock — and I would be thinking about David Bowie, Prince, David Byrne and Talking Heads. The wonder of it was that there were so many wafting exotic scents and interesting flavors, filtered through their own sensibilities and turned into something very unique. The same was true of their stunning and jaw-dropping visuals, specially designed for the “reflektor theme” of their latest album. There is absolutely no doubt that they’ve been inspired in their presentation by those last few names I mentioned. But again, very different. It was a fusing of high-tech stagecraft, old-fashioned puppet costume ball and hallucinogenic supper club, with amazingly creative artistic vision. Just beautiful.