With night one of Arcade Fire’s five show run upon us at Judson Memorial Church (facing the south side of Washington Square Park), the only solution to abide the pre-show jitters was a nice, cold lager. (Yes, we had pre-show jitters.) And on arriving at church, we felt a pang of remorse for entering a holy house with beer breath, a rare bout of morality promptly squashed by the doorman’s gruff salutation: “I need IDs if you want a wristband to drink.” So much for Christian guilt. More fuel for the Fire, then. Brushed past David Cross in the lobby and straight to the bar, where Fabrizio Moretti had the bartender engaged:

BARTENDER: What can I get you?
FAB: Do you have vodka … ?
BARTENDER:: Yeah, sure.
FAB: I’ll have a…
BARTENDER: Just kidding man! It’s a fucking church!
FAB: (Sheepishly) Oh.

But once we and our fellow show-going Strokes wrapped our heads around drinking beer and/or vitamin water in a church, it was down to business. The big neon Bible lit up. Arcade Fire, ten deep, moved onto the stage. A sustained symphonic synth greeted ’em, and a few tom bashes later we were head long into “Keep The Car Running.” It sorta looked like this.

Don’t think we were the only ones feeling first night anxiety, though. Awesome as it was, a mild unfamiliarity set in for the first few tunes; probably a combination of the band feeling out the joint and the crowd dealing with the combined shock of the room’s beauty and the insane amount of space, enough to move freely, dance, and prosper. Even at capacity, and with 60 additional tickets sold at the door (hint hint, Craigslisters, though you may wanna get there at 11AM like today’s die-hards), the arm room was disarming.

But from the first “hey” of “No Cars Go,” Arcade Fire owned.

As always, there was plenty of instrument switching. Juno Award winning guitarist Richard Reed Parry did his tour of the stage, on the six-string, the double bass, the megaphone. Win started on a mandolin before taking up a bass and then a guitar. Régine was everywhere, too, but most adorable when getting her dance on during “Haiti.” Aww. And though the band left the helmets at home, they still remember how to bang a hand-held tom with a Timberland boot. (Drum geeks, you’ll tell us the technical term for that.)

The Funeral tunes shook the steeple the hardest, but no surprises there; those songs are classic, Win destroys on ’em, and maybe just maybe there were a few in the room that hadn’t heard Neon Bible just yet. (Ha.) All in all, totally fucking great. But you knew we were gonna say that.

NME had us trained to wait expectingly on the steps, hoping for an impromptu Velvet Underground cover or something. No luck. But we did see Fab walk out, thirty seconds after Kirsten Dunst, do a left-to-right scan for the TMZ photogs, and then hustle to rejoin her down the block. We’re so telling Drew.

01. “Keep The Car Running”
02. “(Antichrist Television Blues)”
03. “Black Mirror”
04. “Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son” (Serge Gainsbourg cover)
05. “No Cars Go”
06. “Haiti”
07. “Black Wave/Bad Vibrations”
08. “My Body Is A Cage”
09. “Neon Bible”
10. “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
11. “Rebellion (Lies)”
12. “Intervention”
13. “Windowsill”
14. “The Well And The Lighthouse”

UPDATE: We’ll link the setlist to some YouTubes as they surface.

Comments (28)
  1. pearl  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    my envy is infinite.

  2. silly stereogum. drew and fab totally broke up. i mean- thanks for the review :)

  3. silly stereogum. drew and fab totally broke up. i mean- thanks for the review :)

  4. Jonathan  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    You forgot that they played the song Neon Bible.

  5. Pft…everyone knows the real story is on the FAKE FOLK movement I wrote about for a blog here:

  6. That’s it! I demand they fucking tour Australia already! Where’s the love???

  7. James — I feel yr pain. they’re touring Dublin but the shows both sold out within 15 seconds of the tickets going on sale. no joke!

  8. joe  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    60 extra tickets?
    can i get tickets at the church on one of the days? or do i have to go to the box office?

  9. > can i get tickets at the church on
    > one of the days? or do i have to go
    > to the box office?

    just show up at the door and get in line! people queued up at 11AM, but today’s freezing rain should change that. they sold less tickets for last night’s show than the rest of the run, so expect less at the door the next few nights. doors 7:30, show around 9, played around 90 minutes. added “neon bible,” thanks jonathan!

  10. Also –

    WIN to audience: “You come here often? I’ll buy you a beer … We’re the Arcade Fire from Montreal, thank you for coming.”

    THE Arcade Fire? After I spent years making sure not to use the THE.

  11. Moses  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    I remember them saying on The Morning Becomes Eclectic radio performance that there’s technically no “The” but they don’t really care and use either.

    As for the show, I love this band but there’s no way in hell I’d stand on line for 9 hours for the chance to *possibly* get in. I don’t think I’d do it if I were guaranteed a ticket. I can wait until May.

  12. Do they ever play Une Annee Sans Lumiere? To me that’s the best song, but I’ve never seen it on a set list.

  13. nick  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    Lloyd Grove guestblogging for stereogum?

  14. music fan  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    kirsten dunst was close and cozy on the arm of Fab all night.

  15. What time did they start playing and what time did the show end? Anyone know.

  16. The show started at exactly 9:00 and ended at just about 10:15. There are no opening acts.

  17. 360  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    people were drinking beer, i don’t see what was so ridiculous about Fab’s request…

  18. cnn live  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    fab was there with dunst

    spike jonze was there with drew

    gossip whore

  19. i hope they spit on a glockenspiel this time  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    yay, they played a drum with a shoe, what geniuses…

  20. Katrina  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    great pics and review. what, no youtube footage?

    i’m so jealous.

  21. sinbad  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    any merch sold?

  22. Joey G  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    They had 2 t-shirts ($20 each), a NYC poster ($30), and $6 beer.

    Joey G

  23. so I can bring a camera and buy a drink?

  24. jjazznola  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    Great review. Beer! Yeah! I’m goin tonight. Can’t wait. Is it cool to bring a flask into a church?

  25. Eric  |   Posted on Feb 14th, 2007 0

    I was about six rows of people behind you guys, I guess.
    My mind has still not recovered from the explosion of awesomeness.
    I also bought the t-shirt with the many bibles and wore it today to school.
    It made me smile.

  26. jack celliers  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2007 0

    youtube of black wave/bad vibrations


  27. I’m seeing them in about a month, so excited!

  28. I got into the 2/15 show after waiting over 90 minutes in the door sales line:http://mybigmouthstrikesagain.blogspot.com/

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