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Arcade Fire and Terry Gilliam Spread ‘Love’ With Madison Square Garden Webcast – Spinner

In Canada on August 6, 2010 at 10:31

Arcade Fire and Terry Gilliam Spread ‘Love’ With Madison Square Garden Webcast

Cory Schwartz, Getty Images

Two weeks ago, when Arcade Fire announced that their Aug. 5 concert at Madison Square Garden would be streamed live on YouTube, fans who were not lucky enough to originally snag tickets to the show jumped for joy. It was hard to argue with a front-row seat at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” with a band considered to be one of the best.

But even better than the free webcast was the fact that the one and only Terry Gilliam would be directing the evening’s festivities. So, what would the man behind some of the most innovative films of the last three decades (‘Brazil,’ ‘12 Monkeys,’ etc.) have in store for Arcade Fire and millions of viewers?

Truth is, even in the days leading up to the concert, Gilliam had no idea what the plan was for the evening. “I’m in the middle of it! I don’t know what will happen!” said the director in an interview with MTV.com.

By the night of the show, everyone looked primed and ready to roll. Before the concert began, a short documentary-style video featuring interviews with the band and the director aired (it also included backstage footage with Arcade Fire and Gilliam hanging out over the last two weeks). But at 10:15PM ET, the lights inside the Garden dimmed as Gilliam spoke to those who were tuned in online: “Hello and welcome. My name is Terry Gilliam and tonight we will be directing a webcast with a wonderful group. They are the talented and great Arcade Fire. It will be at Madison Square Garden. You’ll be home, and you’ll love us.” Afterward, there was a brief skit, which featured the director going into the band’s dressing room minutes before the show to find members slumped over in their chairs. After the director fiddled around with a gigantic remote control, each bandmate popped up like a robot and then made their way toward the stage.

Like most Arcade Fire concerts, last night’s show was beautifully synchronized and masterfully played. Overall, the 90-minute set borrowed heavily from the band’s newly released third album, ‘The Suburbs,’ and included a handful of older tracks, like ‘Neighborhood #3 (Power Out),’ ‘Intervention’ and ‘Keep the Car Running.’ Lead singer Win Butler made sure to give the crowd plenty of love, running out into the audience and through the floor seats during ‘We Used to Wait.’ Closing out the show was fan-favorite ‘Wake Up’ (which has become the de facto closing song for any Arcade Fire concert), with thousands in the stands, and likely many at home, singing along to the catchy melody.

Overall, the webcast felt like your standard concert DVD: numerous camera angles on the stage and in the arena, and fans in the crowd singing along to their favorite songs; although, frustratingly, the video and audio feed cut out on several occasions. Looking back, it is hard to tell if Gilliam had much input on the webcast other than the short documentary and skit before the show (although he likely had a say on choosing camera angles to broadcast during the concert).

Despite being part of two separate yet overlapping art forms, the proposition of creative forces Terry Gilliam and Arcade Fire working together will always be intriguing. Perhaps with more than a two-week heads up (which is what Gilliam got when he was asked to direct), they will be able to put a stamp on something a little more unique and twisted later down the road.

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