Arcade Fire @ Radio City Music Hall 5/9/07

Each time through our fair city, Arcade Fire’s pulpit gets a little higher, their congregation grows a little bigger (read: prettier), the surrounding hysteria spirals more furiously. But the band aims for the intimate, which means Win wants you in the aisles, to crash the stage, to realize that “there’s only like four security guards… what can they do?” But it was Radio City Music Hall, after all, and the ushers weren’t having it. (United Palace was another story.)

So last night was the inaugural evening of the High Line Festival, and though Mr. David Bowie was in the house (spotted milling about), we didn’t see him on stage. Bummer. Damn mimes, so unreliable! What we did see instead was a massive band on a tiered platform, a movable pipe organ, the brothers Butler taking turns mingling in the crowd, and a trumpeter blowing from the rafters. More so than most, as Judson reminded, this band needs crowd-love to burn — and the Funeral songs always incite the riot. Favorite moment? The crowd keeping the wordless melody to “Rebellion (Lies)” alive through set break. Least favorite moment? $8 vodka tonics. Better than Hiro, at least.

And don’t forget about the National, who played to a mostly-empty-but-gradually-filling hall and kicked much ass. Matt was limping and had to fall to his stool after pouring himself into “Mr. November” (shades of Julian when we saw the Strokes and the White Stripes there in ’02), but the crowd compensated by standing for him, in applause at set’s end. The National have five shows at Bowery at the end of May, so we’ll save our gushing about them for then. After the jump, both bands setlists and a plethora of AF pics. Enjoy ‘em.

01 “Keep The Car Running”
02 “No Cars Go”
03 “Haiti”
04 “Black Mirror”
05 “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)”
06 “In The Backseat”
07 “My Body Is A Cage”
08 “The Well And The Lighthouse”
09 “Ocean Of Noise”
10 “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”
11 “(Antichrist Television Blues)”
12 “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
13 “Rebellion (Lies)”
14 “Intervention”
15 “Wake Up”

01 “Secret Meeting”
02 “Mistaken For Strangers”
03 “Slow Show”
04 “Abel”
05 “Start A War”
06 “Squalor Victoria”
07 “Apartment Story”
08 “Fake Empire”
09 “Mr. November”