Arcade Fire performed their special live-streamed gig in New Orleans, Louisiana last Friday (April 1), during which they played three songs from their forthcoming sixth album, ‘WE’.
The set, which took place at Woldenberg Park as part of a “block party” event hosted by US telco AT&T, ran for over an hour and a half. The indie-rock trailblazers performed a total of 18 tracks, drawing material from all six of their full-length efforts (as well as 2020’s standalone single ‘Generation A’).
Kicking off the set were the first two tracks released as singles from ‘WE’, ‘The Lightning I’ and ‘The Lightning II’, which set a soaring and anthemic tone for the night’s performance. The as-yet-unreleased cut ‘Age Of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)’ came as the main set’s penultimate track, offering a darker and headier slant with its synth-driven, disco-esque runs.
During a five-song encore, the band linked up with The Original Pinettes Brass Band to perform ‘Electric Blue’ (with frontman Win Butler incorporating a line from the Pinettes’ song ‘Get A Life’), and with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to play ‘Wake Up’.
Take a look at the full performance below:
Arcade Fire first debuted ‘Age Of Anxiety II’ at another show in New Orleans, which they played last month as a last-minute benefit for relief efforts in Ukraine. All proceeds from the “pay-what-you-can” gig went to benefit the Plus1 Ukraine relief fund, which is supporting Ukrainian people through non-profits providing humanitarian aid.
‘The Lightning I’ and ‘The Lightning II’ – which the band also played at that Ukraine benefit – landed as a joint single two days later.
Reviewing the dual release for NME, writer Thomas Smith called it “deeply heartfelt and slightly unnerving all at once; humongous in its sound, but familiar and intimate to those who’ve followed [Arcade Fire] for nearly two decades.”
Following that release, Arcade Fire played a further run of Ukraine benefits in New York, where they raised over $100,000 (£76,370) for the people of Ukraine. At the final NYC concert, Arcade Fire were joined onstage by David Byrne for a cover of ‘Give Peace A Chance’.
Will Butler, the brother of Win, announced last month that he’d quit Arcade Fire after almost two decades with the group. “There was no acute reason beyond that I’ve changed – and the band has changed – over the last almost 20 years,” he said in a statement, offering simply that he found it was “time for new things”.
‘WE’ marks Will’s last recording with Arcade Fire; the album is due out on May 6 via Columbia.
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