Arcade Fire @ The Austin City Limits Taping, Austin 9/14/07

When you walk into the KLRU studios, home of the always awesome Austin City Limits public broadcast live music show, you get hit with a couple of ground rules: no pictures (hence the juicy program shot), no excessive moving (don’t want to distract the home audience), and stay within the lines (the chalk lines, that is, cordoning off the allowed standing areas so as to allow the TV cameras unfettered movement). Win couldn’t do much about the photo policy, but he made sure to annihilate the other guidelines. “Do they allow you to stand up, ’cause you can stand the fuck up, please.” That wasn’t a question! But if it was, judging by the crowd’s quick jump he wouldn’t have had to ask twice.

Last year, we were lucky enough to have an ecstatic moment at Sufjan’s Austin City Limits taping, so passing up an opp to see the mighty, melodramatic Arcade Fire in the studios’ perfect acoustics and intimate setting just wasn’t gonna happen. Win had us get up right after an opening “Black Mirror,” before a swingin’ “Keep The Car Running,” and the rest of the show was about as epic as you’d expect. The set comprised fifteen tunes — six Funeral, nine Neon — and was performed for a mixed audience of every-word singers and Fire neophytes. We sat near a pair of the latter; they walked out gushing about “instrumentation” and the tunes being “anthemic” (and one of ‘em kindly snagged us a setlist — thanks!). Converting folks at every turn, still. Calexico ‘n’ Norah’s fave “Ocean Of Noise” (the Bible’s true contribution to the Great Indie Songbook) was a stunner as always, but shit was lost collectively on the “Tunnels”/”Lights Out”/”Rebellion”/”Wake Up” closing sequence. That’s about when Win jumped into the crowd and told the floor kids “Don’t you fucking dare” stay within the chalk-lines. Poor camera folks, lucky floor kids.

And, two notes for AF buffs…

Ever notice Win cross himself after the closing lyric of “(Antichrist Television Blues)”? That was a first for us, and we’ve seen ‘em play it a couple of times. Also, didn’t Mr. Butler smash up that Sak Vid Pa Kanpe acoustic at SNL? Well Win’s got a new one, embossed with sparkly lettering and surviving last night’s show. An empty sack does not stand up, but the Fire made sure the rest of us did. See what we did there?! Right. Sorry.

Not sure about air date, but let’s hope some clips come down the pike soon. From there it was off to the Hot Freaks gig (post TK). Kill some time with the AF ACL setlist and stage directions.