On the 16th night of October, Arcade Fire gave their last concert in their North American tour, and in their visit to Mexico to a very enthusiastic Guadalajaran crowd. The writing writer happily attented, and this is his story. The writing writer tried to get some photos, but for some reason all the Flickr ones were prohibited. Videos are not those of the writing writer.
It was a sunny and promising Saturday when my friend arrived. He didn’t know much about Arcade Fire but somehow I had convinced him of going to their concert. We arrived at the bus station around noon, bought tickets and immediately boarded. The first hour we were very talky-talky, but then he said he wanted to get some sleep and changed seats. Then this vendor arrived and started making some retarded conversation with him, which he didn’t manage well. He stayed there for a good half an hour talking, while I was preparing for the concert with my headphones on. Later my friend told me how much he hated that guy and how he thought there was something off with him. There was.
Two and a half hours after our boarding, we arrived at Guadalajara, ready to rock. But it wasn’t so easy, the cabs at the bus station charge a lot and we decided to walk a bit before grabbing a taxi. We did, but we still got scammed. Fine. We arrived, picked up our tickets (which was surprisingly easy, contrary to how I thought it would go), and I took my friend to some really amazing Italian place that’s near the theater. He loved it and whatever and then we walked to the theater. The concert was still about 3 hours away, but the line was going around the block, filled with hipsters and college kids. Really, we were no different.
Let’s fast forward to when we went inside the place and grabbed some pretty awesome spots. I was on medication, but I still made the suggestion that my friend should go and get us some beers. I regret that more than any other stupid thing I’ve done. But it felt good back then and that’s what matters. About 30 minutes before the original hour Colin Stetson, some dude with some weird saxophones, came out and rocked the stage with what I can only call “some avant-garde sounding shit”. I really liked it, but it was very unconventional. Everybody else seemed to be having a great time, which is good because knowing mexican audiences normally they would have kicked that guy out of the stage before he started playing his stuff.
He didn’t play much, but he played well and soon he left. Then there was about a 15-minute wait before we actually saw Arcade give the concert of their careers. They came out quietly and started playing “Keep the Car Running” to the most awesome and loud crowd I’ve ever been a part of (that isn’t saying much, but whatever). “Ready To Start” and “Month of May” kept the crowd going like there was no tomorrow and then “The Suburbs” calmed things a bit. Then Win, before going into “No Cars Go” said something that changed the night to everyone who understood him. Well, he said something like “I think you guys are the best crowd we’ve ever played for!”. That meant a lot, and “No Cars Go” was as great as I always imagined it sounded live.
But then they went into a combination of songs that, while not bad, didn’t really go well together in a concert, and sort of killed the mood for a little while; these being “Haiti”, “Sprawl II”, “Empty Room” and “Modern Man”. But most of the crowd still received them well and even recited them with the band, despite the fact that they’re pretty new songs. And then they broke everyone’s heart by playing “Crown of Love” out of nowhere. “Tunnels” was amazing, the transition from “Power Out” to “Rebellion” was mindblowing, as expected, and “The Well and the Lighthouse” surprised many of us.
Here’s where things went weird: after a pretty solid version of “We Used To Wait” Win threatened everyone by saying that the next song was their last, and everybody believed him because they actually started playing “Wake Up”, which has always been their closer. I have to admit I freaked out a bit. Did we deserve no encore? Still the chants of the crowd overshadowed those of the band during that song and, as they said, they left for a couple eternal minutes, while the crowd did the usual mexican cheers. Much to my amazement, they came out and started playing “Intervention” to a crowd that seemed mesmerized by what they were watching.
There was a little intervention after “Intervention”, and some guys behind me started screaming “Laika!”, much to my amusement, and then I joined them. Win decided to give us the beautiful gift of “Laika” and said “we’ll play Laika, it’s never too late to change your mind”. Then some freaking out happened and Laika started. By the end of it everyone was at their climax, and it came out in their loud shouts. But Win still had surprises for us, he asked everyone to shut up and then they continued playing the most amazing song ever: “In The Backseat”. Some crying happened on Regine’s part near the end and the whole band was freaked out by our response; in the meantime I was having multiple orgasms. I may or may not have cried the next day while listening to that song. They left looking very grateful and satisfied with the audience. It really was an amazing audience.
But we all know there’s really no words that can describe the emotions felt in a concert, especially one so touching like Arcade’s. The band was amazing, as always, and I constantly found myself delighted by Will’s faces and his usual behavior on stage; at one point he came off the stage with a drum and then in another part he started fake-fighting with the redhead and a drum. Just looking at the band while they are doing their shows is quite an experience, and one that is worth it even for the headache that I had the next day, and the month of salary that I spent in the trip, and the fact that we almost got robbed by an evil cab driver on the way back; but these are all sacrifices that you make to see one of your favorite bands live, and when it pays off you feel amazing.
And now for the comparison between the dream-setlist I made in the In Retrospectives and the actual setlist that happened (bolded are the ones I got right):
Keep the Car Running
Ready to Start
Month of May
The Suburbs (Continued)
No Cars Go
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Crown of Love
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
The Well and the Lighthouse
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
We Used to Wait
Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
In the Backseat
In the dream-setlist I counted “The Suburbs” as one, so there’s half a point off and then I chose both Laika and The Woodlands National Anthem, so that’s another half point. 15 out of 20, not bad at all.