It’s amazing what something as simple as printing “Fancy dress or formal attire mandatory” on concert tickets can do to create a sense of occasion. As the queue for this gig from The Best Band In the World™ wound round Glasgow’s iconic Barrowland Ballroom, it quickly became apparent that this would be a very special evening: boys in sequin bow ties mingled with girls in prom dresses wearing Venetian masks. A mariachi band greeted us as we entered the venue playing their unique version of Reflektor, the title track from Arcade Fire’s fourth studio album. However, their new music doesn’t have a Mexican flavour: it’s now all eighties synths and thoroughly danceable, as you’d expect from an album produced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy. The Barrowland Ballroom was the perfect setting for such an event: with the fairy lights, colourful ceiling and masked dancers, it evoked a magical realist orgy.
I have never been to a gig where the audience has been so unified: before the band took to the stage, strangers were having their photo taken with each other to capture the costumes people had turned up in. The atmosphere was fantastic. By the time the band finally appeared, everyone was in the mood to dance.
The band opened with ‘Reflektor’, but the dancing turned to frenzied jumping during ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’, the infectious ‘Here Comes the Night Time’, and of course the cathartic ‘Wake Up’. Win Butler, the band’s main vocalist, even left the stage at one point to walk through the crowd. After the band left, a DJ set played, allowing everyone to continue dancing. Those who left early were satisfied that they had just witnessed arguably the best band on the planet.