Arcade Fire Headlines Massive Free Outdoor Concert
Award-winning band gives back to Montreal and supports Haiti earthquake relief
26 Sep, 2011 8:53
POP Montreal organizers anticipated 75,000 people to pack into the open-air venue. By the time Arcade Fire began the show, tens of thousands of people stood shoulder-to-shoulder for the band’s homecoming after a year on tour.
“It really feels like home. Thank you so much for supporting us,” frontman Win Butler shouted to the fans.
The band’s opening song “Ready to Start” elicited lively dancing from the crowd. The music, which has been described as art rock and baroque pop, could be heard from kilometres away. After their opening song, they launched into “Keep the Car Running” and “No Cars Go,” both from their second album, “Neon Bible.”
Arcade Fire began performing in the summer and fall of 2001. Two of Arcade Fire’s members and future husband and wife William Butler and Régine Chassagne met at McGill University, where they studied Jazz. They played some of their first shows at Montreal’s battle of the bands and Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts VAV Gallery.
In addition to giving back to the Montreal community, Arcade Fire used Thursday’s concert to fundraise for KANPE, a non-profit organization which provides humanitarian aid in Haiti. The band offered VIP passes to the first 100 fans who contributed at least $200 to the charity.
Chassagne feels a special connection to Haiti because her parents originate from the impoverished nation. Butler also urged Quebecers to continue their support for Haiti, a country which is still reeling in the aftermath of the devastating January 2010 earthquake.
Although the mainstream media has largely forgotten about the disaster, Butler reaffirmed his optimism for the future of Haiti. “I really believe that Montreal and Quebec are really going to transform Haiti.”
Arcade Fire reached fame with the release of their critically acclaimed debut album, Funeral, in 2004. They have won several awards, including the 2011 Grammy and Juno Awards for Album of the Year for their third studio album, The Suburbs. Despite their successes, they have not forgotten their roots. Chassagne admits, “Our band couldn’t exist without Montreal.”