Arcade Fire seem to have this arena thing off pat now. After the supremely disappointing SECC show in support of ‘Neon Bible’, last year’s SECC show and now this show at the Castle are compelling evidence that the Canadians now know how to play these types of shows.

First off though were the Walkmen about whom I knew virtually nothing other than their MTV ‘hit’ of a good few years ago. But they’ve since been recommended to me and on their display last night with good reason.

Although the seated nature of the show means that it’s easier to look at the audience filtering in than turn towards the stage I do give the music my attention and they sound pretty good. I still only know the hit (which they finish with) but I’ve since downloaded their most recent LP ‘Lisbon’ and am looking forward to getting to know it.

Win Butler meanwhile negates the fact that the seating for the most part isn’t pointing in the direction of the stage by inviting everyone on their feet, them commanding them to dance. 1 out of 2 ain’t bad and the band deliver the rest.

In truth not much has changed since the last show although the set is significantly re-ordered (latterly at least) and a new song is played.

The new song, ‘Speaking In Tongues’ is apparently an extra track on the deluxe edition of ‘The Suburbs’ and it sounded a bit like that. The significant change to the running order is to bump ‘Wake Up’ into mid set and shift the double hit of ‘Power Out’ and ‘Rebellion’ to the encore. Which meant that the main set was finished off with ‘Sprawl II’  – one of the best songs on the album sure – but as a set closer?

Despite the slightly idiosyncratic running order, it was still a great show with the split moods of ‘Suburban War’ (the other song to be brought in) quite dramatic. It’s still surprising that other tracks from ‘The Suburbs’ aren’t given an outing because, whilst it’s lacking in real classic anthems, there are lots of songs on there you would think would play well live.

Of the older stuff ‘Tunnels’ benefitted from being placed later in the running order whilst the ‘Neon Bible’ quota was down to just two songs, three if you count ‘No Cars Go’. Which pretty much sums up the relative strengths of that record.

I do think that at the moment AF have enough material to carry off these sorts of shows. But they desperately need to find some new classics for the fourth album or they really will be viewed as being past their creative peak.

Arcade Fire setlist

1. Ready To Start  2. Keep The Car Running  3.  No Cars Go  4. Haiti  5. Roccoco  6. Speaking In Tongues  7. Intervention  8. Suburban War  9. Wake Up  10 Laika  11. The Suburns  12. Month of May  13. Tunnels  14. You Used to Wait  15. Sprawl II

Encore – 16. Power Out  17. Rebellion (Lies)

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