Arena shows tend to be scripted affairs. The production touches and lighting effects all have to be pinpoint-accurate, so most acts on that level don’t have the luxury of being able to change their sets much from night to night. They end up playing the same songs in the same order every night, often even giving the same stage-patter spiel between songs. And whether or not you like everything that Arcade Fire are doing these days, you at least have to acknowledge that they’ve kept the art of the arena show fluid and alive.
On Friday, for instance, Arcade Fire paid tribute to the late Cranberries leader Dolores O’Riordan by covering “Linger” in Dublin. And last night today in Manchester, they busted out an old semi-rarity for the first time in many years. “Vampire/Forest Fire” originally appeared on Arcade Fire’s self-titled EP, which they self-released in 2003, a year before the classic full-length debut Funeral.
Arcade Fire remain a stirring and passionate live act, and “Vampire/Forest Fire” sounded great. And Arcade Fire, as long as they keep playing arenas, might belong on that Springsteen/Pearl Jam tier of legacy artists who keep finding ways to switch their setlists up. Fingers crossed. Watch a fan-made video of that “Vampire/Forest Fire” performance below.
That stage set is cool, too.