In honor of the end of a week already too full of the band, we celebrate with Arcade Fire's Top 5 Moments in New York City. They range from the sublime to the downright quirky. For those of you there for either of the last two night's shows at MSG, you have our jealousy and our respect. For those of you in the crowd for any of these, it doesn't get any better.
#5 - Playing Union Square in the middle of the night (2006)
The video is grainy and the songs weren't all theirs (this, New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle") but it undeniably happened in the middle of the night near 14th St.
#4 A 20,000 person sing-a-long (2010)
In the band's triumphant return to New York they closed the Garden with their signature song and all the back up vocals you could ask for. Not their most transcendent moment but certainly their largest (Internet audience, this includes you).
#3 Playing David Byrne with David Byrne (2005)
After 2004's Funeral the band attracted its share of rock star Illuminati. In 2005, David Byrne took the stage with the band at Irving Plaza to play one of his hits, "This Must Be This Place (Naive Melody)". Byrne looks like a spastic waiter at a Salsa club, but the band sounds great and the moment is entirely its own.
#2 Playing in the crowd at Judson (2007)
Arcade Fire took the stage at Judson Memorial Church by playing an unplugged version of "Wake Up" from the belly of the crowd. On the Neon Bible tour, Butler developed a habit of walking through the audience as either entry or exit, establishing a clear sense that the boundaries of viewer and performer would be as blurry as possible.
#1 The United Palace Theater take-over (2007)
Butler encouraged his audience to crash the stage and after a brief skirmish with security, this is exactly what happened. The band played "Wake Up" surrounded by bodies, obscuring them almost completely from view. Butler then stepped forward, through the maw and led a group chorus. To cap it off, in one of the all-time Rock Star moments, he stepped over the seats and walked straight out the back of the theater . I imagine him walking out on to the streets of Harlem thinking whatever thoughts you think after crushing 3,000 people at once. I am, of course, biased to this instance because I was there. Rolling Stone would pick up my photographer's pictures but not my review (it's cool, no hard feelings). To those in the crowd, it is the stuff of legend, hopefully like the MSG shows will be remembered by the time their next record is out in 2013.