They played in front of a huge crowd at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens in 2005, supporting Franz Ferdinand; at a windswept T in the Park in 2007; and before 8,500 fans at Edinburgh Castle’s famous Esplanade in 2011.
But Arcade Fire’s return to Scotland was deliberately low key as they performed an intimate gig at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange on Thursday night to herald new album Everything Now, which is out on July 28 via Columbia.
One of the biggest bands in the world, Arcade Fire could easily have filled Murrayfield Stadium had they chosen to play there, so for the lucky few in attendance at the Corn Exchange this was a rare chance to see them up close.
The Canadian collective – comprised of William Butler, Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Jeremy Gara, Tim Kingsbury and Richard Reed Parry – performed several songs from their soon-to-be-released newbie (including ABBA-esque recent single Everything Now and Signs of Life), and delighted the crowd with anthems like (set-opener) Wake Up, Ready To Start, Rebellion (Lies), No Cars Go, Neon Bible and (set-closer) Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).
Of the new songs, Creative Comfort, which sees Chassagne trade lines with husband Win Butler, was a particular highlight, while the 360-degree stage set-up gave the gig an intimate feel.
The Montreal-based band never fail to thrill on the live stage and, after more than an hour-and-a-half of sweeping, soaring anthems, fans filed out of the venue chanting “f*ck the Tories”, and in no doubt they’d just witnessed one of the best gigs of the year.
Words: Gary Flockhart