Arcade Fire @ Edinburgh Castle – 1st September 2011

Edinburgh Castle is a fantastic venue to look at. There is no denying how special a show look and feels here. What also helps is that for an outdoor show, the acoustics are superb. All in all, the makings of a great show.

It is a little sad then that support act The Walkmen were frankly forgettable. Little interaction, and not even announcing who they were didn’t help either. It was clear the crowd didn’t care for them.

However when Arcade Fire burst onstage just after 8:45 kicking things off with the excellent “Ready To Start” the crowd warmed instantly. Once finished Win Butler tells the crowd in the stands all around to get up on their feet and dance. Everyone duly does and is rewarded by “Keep The Car Running” and “No Cars Go”. The venue is buzzing by the end of this triple-whammy.

“Haiti” is next and the show is in full swing. With Régine on vocals this is a particular favourite of mine, as is Régine herself. If she isn’t playing Hurdy Gurdy, it’s Drums, and when it’s neither she is dancing round the stage and singing in her falsetto voice. A French-Canadian Björk for sure.

Arcade Fire are a stellar live act. Their sound fairly inimitable and at times ferocious live. It’s safe to say that they are always immaculate in terms of playing and musicianship. Three albums in, and having headlined Festivals across the world they are extremely at ease playing to tonight’s large capacity crowd and do well to keep most people’s attention throughout their 1hr 40m set, playing a good mix from their back catalogue. There were a few tracks, such as the rare “Speaking in Tongues” from their Deluxe Edition of The Suburbs which was met with the crowd mostly talking since they didn’t know it. However those instances were very few.

Tonight was a strong performance, in fantastic settings – something the band were quick to acknowledge – and given that it is the second time through the UK in support of their The Suburbs album, the show didn’t suffer by being too similar in set.

Particular highlights were the three song intro of “Ready to Start”, “Keep The Car Running”, and “No Cars Go”. Also “Intervention” and “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” added to a selection which was worth the entry fee alone.

Arcade Fire Setlist Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland 2011, The Suburbs
Gareth Fraser
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