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TAYLOR BREAKS ANOTHER RECORD WITH ANOTHER RECORD
Oops...she did it again. (11/17a)
"DESPACITO" DOMINATES 2017 LATIN GRAMMYS
...to no one's surprise. (11/17a)
THE FOUR: CW TO GET HIS CLOSE-UP (UPDATE)
Charlie is ready for prime time. (11/17a)
GERSON ON BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING
The trailblazer talks. (11/17a)
THE GRAMMY TELECAST WILL HONOR THE DEPARTED (BUT PLEASE, GOD, NO MORE)
Who will get a special tribute on the telecast? (11/17a)
GRAMMY SHOCKERS
You just wait.
WHAT WAS ON THAT PIZZA?
I think I'm hallucinating.
WHO WILL DOMINATE THE HOLIDAYS?
Stockings await.
MAJOR EXEC SHUFFLE
The deals aren't done yet, but when they are? Hoo-boy.
Critics' Choice
ARCADE FIRE AT THE FORUM:
THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER
10/24/17
By Bud Scoppa
 
 

Apart from the snazzy high-tech staging and the integrated electronics, the 2017 iteration of Arcade Fire, which rolled into the Forum Friday (10/20), is remarkably similar to the band that made its L.A. debut 13 years ago on the cramped stage of the Troubadour. True, those years of heavy roadwork have served to streamline the interaction of the band—expanded to a nine-piece for the Infinite Content tour—but the ecstatic presentation, almost tribal in its organic power, is thrillingly intact.

Bandleader Win Butler remains a towering presence, physically and theatrically, standing atop a monitor with mic held aloft like the Statue of Liberty or roaming through the crowd. Brother Will, with twins on the way, is still a whirling dervish, cheerleading, pounding one of the keyboards sitting on the perimeter of the square stage or banging on a tambourine. Win’s wife, Régine Chassagne, is all over the place as well, switching between keys, lead vocals on “Sprawl II” and the new “Electric Blue”—on which she shows off her Debbie Harry-inspired dance moves—and a second drum kit adjacent to that of Jeremy Gara on the revolving riser in the middle of the theater-in-the-round setup. Also intact is the ongoing sense that things could spin out of control at any moment, a fundamental aspect of Arcade Fire’s shambolic charm.

While the 23-song performance included nearly all of the band’s latest album, Everything Now, the setlist thoughtfully shuffled through Arcade Fire’s discography, with five selections from 2010’s The Suburbs satisfyingly appearing one after the other in midset, and four anthems from 2004’s career-establishing Funeral strategically placed, from “Rebellion (Lies)” in the third slot to the ever-rousing “Wake Up” the last of the three encore selections. “Reflektor/Afterlife” from 2014’s Reflektor was presented as a seamless extended dance party powered by programmed beats, drums and hand percussion, while Neon Bible was represented by “No Cars Go” and the title song. The impassioned crowd greeted the intro to each number like a visit from an old friend, and it appeared that all those present had made a pact to remain standing for the entire two hours.           

Afterward in the Forum Club, an extended-family reunion was informally co-hosted Win and Will’s parents, Ned and Liza Rey, who’d flown to L.A. from their home on the Maine coast for the week. The gathering had a multi-generational showbiz feel; Liza’s dad was big-band leader and pedal steel innovator Alvino Rey, the patriarch of the King Family and the husband of Luise King Rey, one of the six singing King Sisters, whose offspring turned out in force for the occasion. Those on hand with family ties—members of the interconnected Cole, Conkling, Larsen, Thomas and Driggs clans—don’t think of Arcade Fire as a high-profile alternative band but as the continuation of a family tradition and a source of great pride.     

As Will pointed in Josh Eellsdefinitive 2014 Rolling Stone feature, "It's kind of part of our heritage. The family band."

 
Arcade Fire Setlist The Forum, Inglewood, CA, USA 2017, Infinite Content
 
iPhone photo by Peggy Scoppa