It’s not often you see Jesus Christ dancing with Batman while a woman dressed as a lifesize whoopee cushion prances past.
Then again it’s not often a band as huge as Arcade Fire are in town.
They instructed fans to come in formal attire or fancy dress. Most did – hence the Batman and Jesus show – and with the Empress decorated beautifully, all twinkly lights and glitterballs, it created a party-like atmosphere which made this gig very special indeed.
Tickets sold out in 90 seconds, a new record for the venue, despite the fact it was billed as a gig by The Reflektors. No one was fooled. They knew it was Arcade Fire, one of the biggest bands on the planet, whose third album, The Suburbs, scooped a Grammy and a Brit.
A band who usually pack-out arenas (and head off on an arena tour in 2014) are doing a quickfire tour of smaller venues on the back of the release of latest record Reflektor.
So this night at the Empress represented a rare chance to see the Arcade Fire up close and personal.
Anyone who was fast enough to snap up a ticket was richly rewarded.
It wasn’t just a gig, it was an occasion. This is a band who clearly care about their live performances. They don’t just turn up, go through the motions, and disappear.
They make the gig a spectacle, talk to the crowd, whip up a frenzied atmosphere; in short they make it something special.
Before the gig seven people wearing oversized paper mache heads, each representing a different member of the band, wandering around town, collecting people, and leading them back, Pied Piper style, to the Winter Gardens.
Not many rock bands who have already made it would go that extra mile, to create a carnival style atmosphere, so full credit to Arcade Fire for doing just that,
The gig was superb, Flashbulb Eyes, Joan Of Arc, Afterlife, Neighbourhood #3 all blasted out with frontman Win Butler a blur of energy, jumping into the crowd at one point for an impromptu walkabout. Wake Up was the pick for me, the audience joining in and raising the roof.
Terrific stuff from a band at the peak of their powers.