Photos by Neil Van.
As Arcade Fire danced down the aisles, high-fiving and fist bumping fans on their slow journey to the stage, a seemingly simple question occurred to me: how many people are in Arcade Fire?
Strange, right? I mean, it should be a relatively easy question. Sure, there’s a lot of people on stage, but I’ve got plenty of fingers. I should be able to count them all, right?
Alas, this question was not so simple to answer as it appeared. First off, nobody in Arcade Fire seems to like playing the same instrument or staying in the same place on stage for more than a song or two at a time. Frontwoman Régine Chassagne in particular played no less than 5 different instruments over the course of the show, not including the singing she frequently paired with her playing. One moment, Sarah Neufeld would be playing violin, the next she’d be jamming away on a keyboard on the other side of the stage. Keeping track of any one person was virtually impossible. To make it even more complicated, it was rare that there wasn’t at least one stagehand purely to arrange, pick up, or fix something.
Second, they are just too darn entertaining to focus on counting for long enough to finish. There’s always something cool going on. Whether it’s Richard Reed Perry looking like he’s having the time of his life on guitar, Will Butler somehow playing keyboards both in front of and behind him at the same time, or Win Butler being Win Butler, they are truly an awe-inspiring band. Their visuals were on point as well: stationed above them were a few dozen lights and two massive displays, usually featuring live shots of the musicians, but mixed in were clips of music videos and captivating effects filters. All in all, their performance did not make my task easy.
Finally, and perhaps most philosophically, the hardest part of counting the members of Arcade Fire is trying to figure out what it means to be a member of Arcade Fire. When a stagehand came out to move a guitar, his performance was integral to the success of the show, was it not? Indeed, looking around me, it was waves upon waves of people dancing and having a blast – for my viewing experience, they were essential to the euphoric atmosphere of the arena. When Chassagne came into the crowd to frolic around a giant disco ball during Reflektor, what really separated her from us? In a way, aren’t we all members of Arcade Fire?
Wait, no, Wikipedia says there are 9 people in Arcade Fire. Never mind.
- Wake Up
- Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
- No Cars Go
- Headlights Look Like Diamonds
- Deep Blue
- Electric Blue
- Put Your Money on Me
- Cars and Telephones
- Half Light II (No Celebration)
- Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
- The Suburbs
- The Suburbs (Continued)
- Ready to Start
- Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
- Creature Comfort
- Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
- Everything Now (Continued)
- Everything Now
- Rebellion (Lies)