Following a successful show at Glastonbury only a week earlier, Arcade Fire are set to headline the British Summer Time festival. The atmosphere within Hyde Park is relaxed with tinges of anticipation. Combined with a wide variety of stalls and amusements that you would expect at a festival, it’s easy to think you were a world away from the capital, rather than at its epicentre.
Arcade Fire don’t just repeat their Glastonbury performance either. A slightly different set, starting with ‘Normal Person’, ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and ‘Joan of Arc’ is played. Tracks from debut album ‘Funeral’ continue to be well met, with strong responses for both ‘Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)’ and ‘Crown of Love,’ which front man Win Butler dedicates to all those who bought ‘Funeral’ when it was first released. Despite a couple of sound issues, the favourites from all four albums are well received throughout the evening.
The music is not the only thing to be applauded either; a screen streaming live footage of the band manipulated into various shades of colour as well as other events in human history frames the artists and during, the tracks from recent album ‘Reflektor,’ vivid moving patterns dominate the stage.
The encore sees a nod to the Rolling Stones as The Reflektors march on with papier-mâché bobble heads to the sound of Sympathy for the Devil. The beautiful sound of the Stones is replaced with sublime renditions of ‘Here Comes the Night Time’, followed by ‘Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)’ and ‘Wake Up’ as Arcade Fire enter to finish their set and our night. It’s an excellent show, leaving no questions as to the quality of the band or their performing ability. However, Butler’s comment at the opening of the set about the concert potentially being their last leaves a burning question – will Arcade Fire continue as Arcade Fire or continue at all.