The grand spectacle of Arcade Fire’s Infinite Content tour descended upon the Air Canada Centre this past Friday night and as always the band put on nothing less than an epic show for the crowd. Touring in support of their recent album Everything Now, the group filled the arena with the reliably huge sound and widescreen visuals.
Fellow Canuck collective Broken Social Scene opened up the show and there could not be a more appropriate band to complement Arcade Fire. Both acts create vast aural canvases that evoke existential sentiment and both do so using a panoply of instruments. Although the Toronto based group has popped up here and there over the years, they’ve mostly taken a hiatus from touring and recording songs until this year’s Hug of Thunder. The tumultuous new album is as stuffed with sounds as always, but the group has really beefed up their sonic presence with songs like the title track and “Halfway Home”. The latter made an appearance in the band’s brief but dynamic opening set, as did “Stay Happy” and “Protest Song”. The rest of the tunes were all classics like “7/4 Shoreline” and “Cause=Time”, finishing off with a raucous improv instrumental dedicated to Gord Downie.
Arcade Fire came out with their stage set up in the middle of the arena like a boxing ring; the band was introduced like heavyweight champions would be. The unique design allowed for a 360 degree show, with the band travelling to all corners throughout each tune. Speaking of the tunes, the band’s set was roughly divided into two halves, with the first part focusing heavily on brand new tunes like the crystalline “Electric Blue” and the disco-inflected “Put Your Money On Me”. Also in the mix was the ABBA-esque title track of their new record, a dance anthem that got the whole ACC moving. The second half leaned a lot more on the band’s established material, ranging from 2004’s breakthrough Funeral to 2013’s mysterious, funky Reflektor. 2010’s The Suburbs was also well represented, with three songs in a row coming from the nostalgic record. One nice surprise was when deep Neon Bible cut “My Body Is A Cage” was brought out!
As one can imagine, the visuals were magnificent. Imagine a discotheque multiplied exponentially, with a massive array of lights criss-crossing into every corner of the Air Canada Centre. Speaking of spectacle, the show finished with the ebullient “Wake Up”- really the best way you can end an Arcade Fire show. The band that defined the word “epic” for our generation will always cap things off on the most epic note, and this song is that note.