Concert review: Arcade Fire / Spoon at Sleep Train Amphitheatre – San Diego, CA – August 5, 2014

Review by Jorge Valcárcel.  Photography by Sylvia Borgo photography.  Published by JB on August 8, 2014

It was the line-up that couldn’t disappoint, and it didn’t. Spoon hurried from their free pool party show at the Lafayette Hotel to (unexpectedly) open the night. They pleased the crowd with old and new; like a fine wine, Spoon just TWTHSAFire_13BWkeeps getting better. Dan Deacon DJ-ed his nerdy awesomness to a supportive crowd; for just one man he puts out a huge sound.

Then came Arcade Fire who, not only surpassed all their hype as an “indie mega-band,” but also added to their mythos. I can only sum it up in a stream of consciousness. Here it goes:

Introduced in Spanish by a mosaic-mirror clad entity that I hereby dub ‘Señor Reflektor’. Played almost every song off Funeral. Karaoke sing-a-long to Tom Wait’s “I Don’t Want to Grow Up”. Band replaced by life-size bobbleheads. Crowd Surfing Panda. Confetti and ticker-tape. 13 Musicians in the band. Stopped counting at 30 different instruments. Cover of Dead Kennedy’s “California: Über Alles”. Encore of “Wake Up”. 30ft Mega Screen that projected the band as you might see them after eating a bag of mushrooms. Régine Chassagne sings the duet “It’s Never Over” from the middle of the crowd along with a creepy dancing skeleton.

The new songs sounded much better live than they do on the recent album Reflektor; more vibrant, richer, more powerful. I entered this concert like the guy who enters the revival tent saying “Yeah, Jesus is just alright”, and I exited it wanting to be a full blown snake-handling Arcade Fire missionary. Thank you Arcade Fire for this night, it was one that won’t soon be forgotten.

–Jorge Valcarcel, on behalf of The Way That He Sings



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