Published Sep 23, 2011Arcade Fire's free outdoor concert in downtown Montreal was everything a homecoming show should be: an even distribution of old songs and new, appreciative sentimental moments wherein the band thank their hometown for raising them, and genuine fan love in return for a band who never forgot where they came from.
Slower, more contemplative moments during "Modern Man" and "Rococo," both from last year's Grammy Award- and Polaris Music Prize-winning The Suburbs were wisely placed between older favourites like "No Cars Go" and "Wake Up," allowing Arcade Fire to do what they do best: put on a rock show, this time for 101,000 people, some of whom had been staking out their spots since the early afternoon.
Lead singer Win Butler seemed happy to be home, and Régine Chassagne shone (literally, she was dressed in sequins as per usual) during a glorious performance of "Sprawl II," which closed the show's encore and sent a sizable chunk of Montrealers back into the night. Butler was also more talkative than longtime fans have known him to be, thanking the crowd at regular intervals and sharing the origins of beautiful Funeral album intro "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," which he wrote after his first cruelly cold Montreal winter ten years prior.
The entire band were in fine form on an evening that Butler told the crowd he'd never forget. Those who feared Arcade Fire had become too big to be cherished were reassured otherwise, and Montreal made it clear that even if the band spend most of their time on tour, they're always welcome to come home, so long as they close down the streets and put on a massive free concert when they do.