WORDS and PHOTOS by JEREMY GOULD
Driving through eastern Washington in late summer is quite bland; the flat, dried out landscape crawls by with hardly a change in the ocean of brown grass. We were driving from Montana and as we passed through Idaho and into Washington we entered a wall of smoke, casting a strange pale light on our journey to the Arcade Fire’s colorful disco – Their stop at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. With the band’s request of formal attire that many people honored and a bright full moon, the orange haze transitioned into a deep red sunset – and then came the night, with Arcade Fire taking the stage for a wild two hour set spanning their entire catalogue, excluding Neon Bible.
From the pit a sea of people on the hill seemed to pulsate as they danced, dressed in evening-wear of various degrees of ridiculousness and lit up by colorful lights beaming from the main stage. Winn, Regine, and company took the stage and began their set with “Reflektor,” playing under a set of hexagonal mirrors, their reflections distorted and exaggerated. A mirrored man moved slowly on the B stage, his shiny suit reflecting beams of light back to the crowd, looking like a tripped-out disco ball. They played on through tracks like “Rebellion (Lies),” “Rococo,” “We Used to Wait”(featuring a booming acapella intro of “My Body is a Cage”), “No Cars Go,” and “Afterlife.” As the band began to play “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus),” Regine rose on a small island in the middle of the pit, and all the crowd forgot about the massive spectacle on the main stage; while she sang she was mirrored by a skeleton figure which shadowed her with a careful and slow deliberation. Throughout their mesmerizing dance it seemed as if they were a split second away from cradling each other and then melting into the other’s arms.
We were all left searching for breathe as the set cascaded to an end with “Sprawl II,” and I probably would have been happy if they walked off with its close. But they came back and and as “Here Comes the Nighttime” feverishly sped back up an explosion of confetti clogged the air and coated us all as we danced through “Power Out” and then finally “Wake Up;” An explosion of such noise and emotion which more than any other concert I have seen at The Gorge seemed to fit its natural splendor. As we walked out of the gates our pockets were filled with crumpled confetti and our suits were completely soaked through – and we were left to try to soak up the whirlwind of raw color and sound that we had just been through.