It’s hard to believe, but I’d been trying to see this band for ten full years!
I knew that seeing an arena show was not going to be like seeing them at any of the unusual or tiny venues they played before they became real “rock stars.” So many times in the past I’d either been too late to buy tickets, wasn’t cool enough to know they were playing some invite-only event, or was away (in the case of the recent secret Reflektors shows). So when Barclays dates were announced, I was determined to buy great seats & make sure it was going to finally happen.
The show was great, making incredible use of live video, effects, and live editing! At one point Ned counted 18 people on stage. The band and audience gave their all. In fact, I felt like AF were really pushing themselves to give a fuller than normal arena experience, even to the point of keeping the venue open for an extra hour, turning it into a giant disco/dance party. “This was expensive to do, so enjoy it!” said Will Butler before leaving the stage.
I’m not sure how comfortable they actually are being rock gods. There are clues to their take on “celebrity" in recent videos, and in the show itself, including giant parody heads of themselves. It’s very clear that they made every effort to try and make this arena tour feel as intimate as possible. No easy task.
I know this is a very unpopular view, but for me each release of their four albums got stronger, with James Murphy’s magic touch on their last being by far my favorite. That might simply be due to my love of 303’s, analog synths & dancebeats, and Murphy’s immaculate taste and skills with them. I’d actually had hopes that Murphy was going to make a guest appearance, however it was great fun seeing guest Marky Ramone & the band tear through a couple of Ramones classics. I found this link of the appropriately shambollic covers.