Arcade Fire at the Bell Center |  An afternoon between ecstasy and bitterness

Arcade Fire at the Bell Center | An afternoon between ecstasy and bitterness

Despite recent sexual misconduct allegations made against the band’s frontman, Win Butler, 10,500 people turned out for Arcade Fire’s concert on Saturday at the Bell Centre. Press he spoke to the spectators, some torn, some enthusiastic, and witnessed the (very good) performance of the Montreal team.


No one was required to be present for Arcade Fire’s concert at the Bell Center on Saturday night. We decided to be there to report on this moment in such a special context, to interview the fans who decided not to boycott the band, but also to tell them about this last concert of the Arcade Fire tour.

For many viewers, given the difficulties in obtaining a refund and the near impossibility of reselling tickets, the decision was difficult: either waste the money or go there despite their reservations.

“I had the thought [samedi] tomorrow,” Elisa, a longtime fan, testified before the concert. “I thought about giving up, about not coming. I felt a slight discomfort with everything that is happening. I am for the victims. But we can’t get a refund. It is money that we lose. »

Next to him, James, equally a fan of Arcade Fire, adds: “Tonight is not going to be like the other times. I want to see them, I still love their music, but it’s hard to leave everything else. But I’ve been following them for so long that it’s hard for me to let them go, too. »

“I told myself that we were going to try to take advantage of the music as such,” continued her friend Chrislaine, who discovered the band last summer. “The music they created does not come out with this scandal. Music continues to be a heritage that we want to preserve. Although…it may send a bad message to be there and cheer this singer on. »


PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, THE PRESS

Chrislaine, Elisa and James before the Arcade Fire show

vivid emotions

Thus, some people, among the ten spectators interviewed by Press, arrived at the Arcade Fire concert upside down. For others, it was never a matter of not being there.

“There was no evidence, only the accusations. I was not going to get my money back. I paid it and I’m leaving,” said Jean-François Larochelle, who had bought tickets to surprise his wife (whose birthday was on Saturday) and his friend. None of them knew (until we informed them) that Win Butler had been sued for misconduct.

“Without endorsing his behavior, I find that there is a difference between the person and the band that we have loved for years,” said François René, surrounded by his band of friends.

This is the show of my life, and I wouldn’t have missed it for that. I like his music and I like his message, although now there is a stain on the image we had of the person.

François René, present at the concert


PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, THE PRESS

Étienne and François René before the Arcade Fire show

Beside him, Étienne said that the group had thought long and hard. “Emotions ran high when the allegations surfaced,” he said. If there had been allegations, the show would have been cancelled. We’ll see if there will be. But we, today, are happy to be here. »

The scandal

This was the return of the prodigal sons to the city where they were born, for the last stop on their world tour, US.

Arcade Fire was musically flawless. He gave a concert worthy of his reputation, skilfully drawing on his splendid repertoire, performing his songs with emotion and precision, for two hours.

The members stood alone on the metropolis stage last summer at Osheaga, greeted as usual by a revering audience, just after the release of this generally well-received new album. This time was different. Meanwhile, in August, the article in the American magazine Gallow revealed allegations of inappropriate behavior by Win Butler. The man known to the world as a man with a big heart allegedly committed sexual misconduct towards four people.


PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, THE PRESS

Large arches dominated the Bell Center’s main stage, then the arches turned into an irises, turning the stage into a pupil.

Rather than retire, Butler embarked on this tour with his band, which began three days after the investigation was published. He denied having made any gesture without the consent of those involved. Régine Chassagne, comedian of the group and wife of Win Butler, affirmed that she supports her husband. None of the members said anything more about the case after that, and nothing was added during the concert on Saturday.

In fact, very few words were spoken other than song lyrics during this homecoming. Maybe it was better that way.

queen queen

Great arches overlooked the main stage of the Bell Centre. A huge disco ball was spinning on the second one, in the center of the floor. The band opened the show on this stage with the work tunnels, which allowed him to cut through the crowd, followed by a single beam of light, Win took the time to clap and wave to his audience. The spectators rose to their feet. To see better, to dance better, but also, it seems, to give the group a standing ovation.

Then another round on the floor, to go to the big stage this time. The arches have been turned into an iris, turning the scene into a pupil. The group sang the wonderful age of anxiety. Régine Chassagne, sometimes at the microphone in front of the stage, sometimes behind his drums, and other times at the piano, was the one we couldn’t take our eyes off. Even when, during the mighty my body is a cage, Butler climbed on the organ his wife was sitting on, which he pulled to her knees for more intensity, which he stomped on with his foot as he sang very loudly, it was Régine who shone. When she put on her shiny raincoat, dancing happily on the Reflector, she mesmerized us. And we had eyes only for her when it was her turn to get on the piano, dance in the crowd, when it was her turn to interpret Extension.


PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, THE PRESS

regine chassagne

For his part, throughout the evening, Win Butler proved to live up to his leading role, bringing insane energy to his performance.

Electrifying… and heavy

But now, there was a malaise at the Bell Center. An elephant in the room that not even the band’s musical prowess could make us forget. The triumphant moment that we would have imagined after the performance at Osheaga did not really happen. A cloud was hanging, although some could ignore it momentarily letting themselves be carried away by the music.

It is not for lack of having tried, of having given everything. Despite empty seats and a floor two-thirds full, and even if the Win Butler aura is tarnished, Arcade Fire remained majestic. The directing and production, without much artifice, but grand enough, did much to make the moment dazzling.

The public response was strong. The remaining fans of the band screamed, clapped and danced. They shouted “lies, lies!” » repeatedly during Rebellion (How ironic!). They sang at full blast The suburbs. They shook the ground by jumping during all now.

It was electrifying. But for many, it was also heavy.

Just before the show, Sarah and Kelly, who came specifically from Ottawa, told us all about their discomfort. “We bought the tickets in August and a week later we found out that there were allegations,” said Sarah. We were overwhelmed. »

Watching Arcade Fire live was on their bucket list, but the duo hesitated for a long time. “We thought we wouldn’t come,” Kelly said. It will stay in my head. »


PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, THE PRESS

Régine Chassagne and Win Butler, from Arcade Fire, at the Bell Center

It’s also very difficult because he’s just one person and you’re thinking about the other members, who are victims of the person they’re associated with.

Sarah, present at the concert

Sarah also claims to feel “in limbo” in relation to this story.

the last notes

Around 11:15 p.m., after a reminder during which the i will return to montreal, Arcade Fire reappeared on the small stage. A trembling and moved Régine told her loved ones, whom she saw in the crowd, how much she loved them. The group then served us three final songs: end of empire, bird on the wireby Leonard Cohen, and wake up.

Under the thousand lights of the disco ball, the concert came to an end, in a strong emotion that we don’t know exactly what to attribute to. The last notes that sounded in the Bell Center seemed to mark much more than the end of a tour.

Will Arcade Fire be able to fill an arena for years to come? Will the Montreal team still exist after tonight? Nothing is less secure.


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