Arcade Fire at the Oracle Arena

I watched the chef segment of CBS This Morning.  Paul Kahan’s signature recipes include Pork shoulder and white grits, Barbecued carrots, and Elotes.  I used my computer to send a credit card payment and to order a copy of the DVD of the “Born Free” television series from the Seventies.  I went out to work, and had my lunch before going to the record store and buying a Little Richard CD.  I saw reissues of Wreckless Eric and Arthur Alexander that I should buy at another time.  I took a BART train out to the Oracle Arena.  While walking across the bridge, I overheard security people talking about Arcade Fire.  They didn’t know that they were a rock band, and they speculated that the show had to do with video games.  I went to the will call window to pick up my ticket.  I sat down for a while to check the sports scores.  The Yankees fell behind the Astros, 1-0, and Cal was behind Arizona.  I stood in line outside the door, and after they let us in, I headed for a merchandise booth to buy a black t-shirt, which cost $35.  It took me a little while to find the path to my seat.  If I had bought a general admission ticket, I would have had to stand near the stage behind taller people.  The music that we heard over the sound system included Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie, and Talking Heads.  They were songs like “When Doves Cry,” “Beat It,” and “Modern Love.”  A man with no face appeared on the video screen to make a not serious comment about souvenirs.  He introduced the opening act, Angel Olsen, who was well received.  She referred to the Oracle Arena as a beautiful building, causing me to wonder if she had really looked at the exterior.  She sang one of those songs her mother used to sing.  The floor filled up, and the crowd spread out to both sides of the stage.  The seats didn’t completely fill up.  We heard “Psycho Killer.”  The crew struggled with part of the setup that made the stage look like a boxing ring.  The lights when down, and we heard Walter Murphy’s “A Fifth of Beethoven.”  After the band was introduced, they walked through the crowd to the stage.  They were nine people, and some of them would switch positions and instruments, and the center part of the stage rotated.  I wasn’t sure that I was hearing all the instruments.  One person I liked was Sarah Neufeld.  Her presence made me think back to Jackson Browne, actually.  Most of the crowd stood during the entire show.  “Everything Now” began the set.  I was impressed with the way the band played, and I thought they sounded better than on the album.  “Signs of Life” reminded me of the Talking Heads.  Win was wearing several Michael Jackson buttons.  He reminded us of the band’s first gig in San Francisco, and he said that it was important for the counterculture in places like the Bay Area to continue doing what they were doing.  The person next to me to my right offered me a smoke, but I didn’t partake.  I don’t know why young people would start smoking unless they actually want to destroy themselves.  One of the songs in the set that I really liked was “Put Your Money on Me.”  We saw Régine and then Win stepping out into the middle of the crowd in the middle of a couple of songs.  The crowd sang along to “The Suburbs.”  I had the thought that once they finished, they couldn’t walk through the crowd to some rest area, walk back through the crowd to the stage, do their encores, and walk back through the crowd for their exit.  They retreated to some area underneath the stage for a breather, and then they came out to do “We Don’t Deserve Love.”  The continued with “Everything Now,” and they ended with “Wake Up,” which left many people singing for the rest of the night.  The band did go through the crowd and off the floor a second time on their way out of the building, still singing.  I thought this was a concert that made an argument for Arcade Fire as the best rock band to emerge from the millennium.  It was inspiring in the middle of a pop music scene that is largely uninspiring.  I liked the way the band took a lot of diverse elements and did something with all of it with a purpose.  One number featured bottles and spoons.  I was glad to be there in the building instead of at a forgettable California football game because I thought I had seen something that was going to become bigger as the years pass.  There were a lot of highlights to this show, and I think you really have to check it out firsthand to see what everyone there is talking about.  I took my time leaving my seat, and I gave a nod to the guy who had been sitting next to me to my left.  As we were exiting, we heard Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” over the arena’s sound system.  I felt rather happy as I made my way home.  The band was packing up and on their way to the next gig, which is in Las Vegas.  The show had started at about 8:50 and ended at just about 11:00.  These were the songs on the set list: “Everything Now,” “Signs of Life,” “Rebellion (Lies),” “Here Comes the Night Time,” “No Cars Go,” “Electric Blue,” “Put Your Money on Me,” “Neon Bible,” “My Body is a Cage,” “Good God Damn,” “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” “The Suburbs,” “The Suburbs (Continued),” “Ready to Start,” “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” “Reflektor,” “Afterlife,” “Creature Comfort,” “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out),” “We Don’t Deserve Love,” “Everything Now (Continued),” and “Wake Up.”  I wondered about the fans.  They seemed to be the affluent type.  I thought about whether I should return in January for the Harlem Globetrotters.  I stopped for a slice of BBQ chicken pizza before I went home, rather tired at that point.  I heard that the Yankees lost that Game 7, so now the Astros are headed to Los Angeles.  We haven’t seen the Yankees and the Dodgers in the World Series since 1981, and if we have to wait another 36 years, I’ll be dead.  Some of the people who died on October 22 include Paul Cézanne (1906), Cleavon Little (1992), Mary Wickes (1995), and Soupy Sales (2009).  Today is a birthday Jeff Goldblum (65), Catherine Deneuve (74), Christopher Lloyd (79).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for October 22, Weird Al Yankovic got his first accordion lesson in 1966.  Also in 1966, the Beach Boys’ single “Good Vibrations” entered the Billboard Hot 100.  In 1982, “First Blood,” the first Rambo movie, was released.  In 1992, Cleavon Little died of cancer at age 53.

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