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Watch Arcade Fire play London comeback show for grand reopening of KOKO

A stunning set from the Canadian heroes to welcome back KOKO

By Nick Reilly

Arcade Fire perform live (Picture: Jamie MacMillan)
Arcade Fire perform live (Picture: Jamie MacMillan)

Arcade Fire played their first show in London for four years to mark the grand re-opening of KOKO last night. You can watch footage from the show and check out our exclusive photos from the event below.

The Canadian band, who are gearing up to release sixth album ‘WE’ next week, reopened the iconic Camden venue after an extensive £70m three-year restoration and development project.

A powerful rendition of new track ‘Age of Anxiety I’ opened affairs and saw singer Regine Chassagne showing off a laser-emitting belt and gloves – which immediately turned the North London room into a space-ago disco.

But while that track immediately proved to be a formidable live beast, last night’s show largely saw the band delivering a fan-pleasing run through their assorted past glories.

A powerful early rendition of ‘Ready to Start’ set the tone for the night, while the sprawling keys of ‘The Suburbs’ instantly transported fans back to the highs of that 2010 album.

“Hi London, we really fucking missed you a lot,” frontman Win Butler told the crowd at the start of the show.

Later, a plea for silence from Butler came ahead of the stunning ‘My Body is a Cage’ because “I just think it’d be beautiful”. The crowd duly obliged – with the emotional sermon proving to be one of the night’s high points.

But, as Butler refused to let us forget, last night was about celebrating. A party-starting rendition of 2014’s ‘Afterlife’ saw him departing the stage to get up close and personal with his audience, while a late rendition of ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’ allowed Chassagne to prove why the synth-pop number is a modern pop masterpiece.

Arcade Fire perform live (Picture: Jamie MacMillan)
Arcade Fire perform live (Picture: Jamie MacMillan)

The ABBA highs of ‘Everything Now’ closed the main set, but the group returned with Springsteen-infused new track ‘The Lightning I,II’, a thunderous rendition of ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ and the catchy hooks of new number ‘Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)’ – a sure fan favourite in the making.

And as ‘Wake Up’ closed proceedings, that track’s thunderous refrain and chorus was belted back with such power that KOKO’s ceilings, only one night into its reopening, felt primed to crash down.

While it would have marked the perfect ending, Arcade Fire are a band known for the unexpected – which in this case came in a final demand from Butler that the livestream cameras are cut off before the band premiered ‘End of the Empire I-IV’, a sprawling, nine-minute state-of-the-nation epic from their new album.

A deft dissection of darkened times, the track proved the perfect ending for a band who were here to life the darkness and provide a perfect celebration of KOKO’s bright new future. An incredibly special show from the most special of bands.

Arcade Fire played:

‘Age Of Anxiety I’
‘Ready To Start’
‘The Suburbs’
‘The Suburbs (Continued)’
‘Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)’
‘Generation A’
‘My Body Is A Cage’
‘Age Of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)’
‘Creature Comfort’
‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’
‘Everything Now’

‘The Lightning I’
‘The Lightning II’
‘Rebellion (Lies)’
‘Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)’
‘Wake Up’

Encore 2:
‘End Of The Empire I-III’ (live debut)
‘End Of The Empire IV’ (Sagittarius A*) (live debut)