The segued from 'Neon Bible' to 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' to end their phenomenal set
Elizabeth Aubrey

19:45 7th July 2017

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At the end of their performance in Manchester last night, Canada’s Arcade Fire closed with a cover of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, shortly after a haunting performance of ‘Neon Bible.’ The intimate gig in front of just 5000 audience members at Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl also saw the band include a surprise snippet of New Order’s ‘Temptation’, appearing at the end of ‘Afterlife.’

Earlier in the evening, Arcade Fire thanked fans for being “a fucking inspiration to the rest of the world” and for “not being scared” to attend the event after the recent terror attack. There was more praise for Manchester as frontman Win Butler said they’d be no Arcade Fire if it wasn’t for Manchester and its powerful musical heritage.

Playing three tracks from their forthcoming album, it was clear the new songs had already been well received by fans. Abba-like, the single ‘Everything Goes’ from the album of the same name proved a popular opening, as did ‘Signs of Life’ and ‘Creature Comfort’. All had the feel of the instant classics which made the band so successful on albums such as Neon Bible and The Suburbs.

Appearing more confident and at ease than perhaps ever before, Arcade Fire seemed to relish every moment of the performance with Butler continually telling the crowd how special the night felt. It was a feeling clearly reciprocated: the audience responded with glee to Butler’s warm crowd interaction just as much as the intense, passionate efforts of all members of the band throughout the night.

Arcade Fire could not give any more than they did last night in Manchester – not only are they one of the most hardworking bands in music, they are also one of the most caring. The dedication which ensures each song is delivered and performed with perfection is genuinely touching: “let’s keep this together” Butler cautiously says as if he feels Arcade Fire might be having too much of a good time after a wonderfully received opening run.

There was no danger of Arcade Fire ever not keeping it together, and if the band were having a good time, so too was everyone else. Staples ‘Rebellion (Lies)’, ‘No Cars Go’, ‘The Suburbs’ and ‘Reflecktor’ received responses which ranged from god-like worship to pure, unadulterated abandon. The audience dance and sing all night, all the while being spurred on by a band who hold out the microphones to the crowd. As night fell, Butler asked the crowd to “light up” the venue with their phones as the gig drew to a close, turning off all the stage lights so they could see the crowd.

At the end of the gig, tambourines and plectrums are thrown to the crowd by members of the band. As the haunting ‘Neon Bible’ transcends into ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and the band slowly disperse off stage, someone in the audience picks up the tambourine and starts to play, leading everyone in a continued rendition of the Manchester anthem long after the band leave. The only sadness of the night was when the Arcade Fire party ended with many feeling as though they had just witnessed one of the best gigs of their lives.

Set List:
Everything Now
Rebellion (Lies)
Here Comes the Night Time
Signs of Life
No Cars Go
The Suburbs
The Suburbs (Continued)
Ready to Start
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Afterlife (with snippet from New Order’s ‘Temptation’)
Creature Comfort
Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)

We Exist
Wake Up

Encore 2:
Neon Bible (with snippet from Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart)

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Photo: Ethan Weatherby