The surrounding area of Capitol Records was coned off and managed by traffic officers all while lines built up, leading into the iconic building’s parking lot. At first glance, it was just a swarm of anxious-looking 20-40 year olds waiting for…something, but only one thing could justify closing the streets of Hollywood during rush hour on a Tuesday evening: Arcade Fire.
MTV Iggy and Intel’s Music Experiment 2.0 provided a lot of lucky and happy winners the opportunity to see one of the most talked about bands of the year on the day their new album was released, no less. I parked a little less than a mile away and walked towards the madness in heeled boots, cursing my short height the entire way, but I was determined to see Arcade Fire when I looked at the stage, not the back of a 6′ tall guy (or girl’s) head.
The crowd was glitter, sequin, and tin foil-filled; fans didn’t take the album name Reflektor lightly, and the LP being released that day only reinforced enthusiasm to dress up. Looming rain clouds had no voice and only intensified people’s Instagram photos as they waited for the band to take to the top of the stage planted in the lot. Yeah, they performed from on top of the stage.
A few minutes after 6:30PM, a spotlight beamed to the top of the Capitol Records building, well above the stage area, and as people noticed waving hands moving towards the ledge, the members of Arcade Fire each appeared under giant paper mache heads. This got the growing audience excited for the full performance, as at this point the body heat was much appreciated amongst weather-spoiled LA residents (myself included) who were shivering in the chilly 60-degree temps.
Moving down few dozen stories, Arcade Fire was still well above the crowd, but they took their positions and their instruments and dove right into “Reflektor.” With a setlist rife with tracks from the new album, the band didn’t hold back on expressing their appreciation for the opportunity to play this special show. Whether it was dancing to the music or getting out of a cameraman’s way, everyone was moving or at least nodding to the beat, and the band was captivating. Towards the end of the set, when things would normally settle down, confetti shot into the sky, rejuvenating the mood of the evening. Glitter scraps filled the air, creating a temporary curtain that veiled the band before they completed their set after thanking the audience once again.
An encore was an unexpected surprise for a unique show in an unprecedented location, but the band came back, even playing “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” from The Suburbs. The confetti, the lights, and the slightly dangerous mirrors taped onto t-shirts and tuxedos all sparkled in the stage lights, but nothing could outshine Arcade Fire’s explosive performance.
For more information and to get your hands on Reflektor: