The hottest day of the year turned into a beautiful evening, and at Hyde Park, Arcade Fire gave a truly inspired performance. No doubt the band were making sure that this, their last night of the successful Reflektor tour, would be one for us, and them, to remember.
Win Butler was more engaging, and more humorous, than I was expecting – such as his opening line ‘For perhaps the last time – Arcade Fire’ – well, I hope that’s a joke. They opened with Normal Person, following with Rebellion (Lies). The high point for me was the glorious Intervention. Naturally the set was peppered with numbers from Reflektor, such as my favourite, We Exist. From The Suburbs they played Rococo. Regine Chassagne radiated warmth and energy, shimmering in a gold ‘reflektor’ dress.
The concert wasn’t all superlatives, though this wasn’t the fault of Arcade Fire. The venue doesn’t score highly with me – or with plenty of others as I’ve discovered. Hyde Park just isn’t the most viewer-friendly location to see a band. For anyone my height, 5ft, it’s tricky being able to see anything other than the screens unless you stand quite a long way from the stage, at which point you don’t feel quite so engaged with the performance, and are battling to hear the band against the talkers around you.
The ticketing raised some eyebrows: a company I work for secured a deal to offer tickets for BST for £2.50 each, quite a reduction from £66, so that was a pleasant surprise. Naturally the offer went viral and it is to the ticket company’s credit that they honoured everyone who applied. But it was difficult to get away from people just chatting away loudly to their friends, paying no attention to the band. If I ever get to be in charge of Hyde Park gigs I’ll divide the arena into two: those who want to listen to the band, and those who want to talk and take selfies. Or maybe I just need to lighten up.
Fingers crossed Arcade Fire will be back in the studio before long, and return to the UK to tour with a new album.
THE SMALL PRINT
WHO: Arcade Fire, Jake Bugg, Wild Beasts, Future Islands
WHEN: July 3, 2014
WHERE: Hyde Park, London