Arcade Fire @ Malahide Castle, Dublin: Gig Review

Arcade Fire Gig Review – Malahide Castle, Dublin

Arcade Fire seem determined to pull out all the stops to make their ‘Everything Now’ tour one to remember.

Rather than the usual offerings of multiple nights in London before a sprinkling of dates around the UK, the Canadian outfit have instead broken the template treated those fans slightly further out to their latest offering first.

From the Bath Halls of Scunthorpe to a park in Belfast, there’s been something a little different about each of the indie-pop’s gigs over the last couple of weeks. The cloudy, atmospheric field amongst the backdrop of the picturesque Malahide Castle in Dublin was no different.

Photos courtesy of Helen Windle.

Despite many undergoing the trek to the castle from Dublin city centre (and possibly further afield), the crowd of tens of thousands were in good spirits on the walk down, with the electric rhythms of the Colombian band Bomba Estéreo keeping the feet moving even as the sun began to set ahead of the main act.

When Arcade Fire came out to a slowed down version of ‘Everything Now’, they received a rapturous applause before settling straight into the title track of their new album.

Initially the crowd was slightly static but they soon got into the groove of the Abba-like tune. The real treats were set to come however as Win Butler and the rest of the talented band launched into the extensive back catalogue of hits.

Fan-favourite ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ gained an electric reception as tens of thousands shouted the “Lies!” reply back during the chorus. It was so catchy and infectious that the singing along didn’t stop as the versatile band members changed instruments; a theme throughout the night that meant there was rarely a lull even with the necessary stoppages.

Any fears of the band over-indulging on unknown new material were unfounded as Régine Chassagne led the rendition of ‘Haiti’ (always a heartfelt moment as a song about her beloved homeland, and one not-too-long-ago struck by tragedy) before launching into an almost greatest hits compilation including ‘No Cars Go’, ‘Neon Bible’, ‘The Suburbs’ and ‘Ready To Start’.

Photos courtesy of Helen Windle.

The peak came in the middle, with old favourite ‘Tunnels’ whetting the appetite for ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Reflektor’ – undoubtedly the two highlights from their last album – with the crowd still swaying as they entered the end of the set.

‘Signs of Life’ from the new album followed and unfortunately didn’t seem to strike the same chord. Perhaps because previously the fans had been able to listen to new songs for a month or two before they came out live (like with Reflektor before the Canadian band headlined Glastonbury in 2014), the crowd seemed more intent to listen to the new material than dance. Latest single ‘Creature Comforts’ was slightly better-received however as the show hit its final stride.

Any concerns this slight dip in excitement would curtail a great set were cast away as the band finished with a crashing rendition of the classic ‘Power Cut’ and the catchy sing-along ‘Sprawl II’, before finishing with their best-known track ‘Wake Up’ for an encore – interestingly only the second time this has ended a gig in this tour.

All in all, it was another strong showing from one of the best live bands on the planet, although one which perhaps would have been improved had the new songs in the middle been a little better-known by the eager crowd.

For further information about Arcade Fire and future events, visit here.

Watch the video for ‘Everything Now’ here:

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