arcade fire best show peak reading 2010

Peak Arcade Fire happened 10 years ago today

The band hit their pinnacle at the Reading Festival in England.

Arcade Fire has played great shows and released great albums before and since, but the band hit their peak when they played the Reading Festival in England 10 years ago today. Earlier in August of 2010, The Suburbs came out to rave reviews and the Montreal band, which was already famous and respected on the strength of their first albums Funeral and Neon Bible, had headlined other major festivals that summer including Lollapalooza and Osheaga. Yet they were still unknown enough that when they won the Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards six months later, “What is an arcade fire” was trending on Twitter.

During this Reading Festival show on Aug. 31 (which you can watch in its entirety below), Win Butler’s energy and confidence was unparalleled, as was his undercut — an alt hairstyle that he helped re-popularize (and that violinist Sarah Neufeld also adopted). The whole band was on point, delivering some of the best performances of “Keep the Car Running,” “Laika,” “Tunnels,” “No Cars Go” and “Sprawl II” that we’ve ever seen (and we’ve seen a lot), with the incredible, massive audience singing along to every word like champs. While it should be noted that the band’s regular guest players Owen Pallett and Colin Stetson weren’t in attendance that night — their presence would have made the sound and the dynamic even better — this was the same amazing band line-up from the Neon Bible era, feature violinist Marika Anthony-Shaw, who would leave the band after this tour cycle.

“Alright, how’re you doing? So we’re called the Arcade Fire, we’re from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It’s nice to meet you. Look, we’ve never had a fucking hit song. I don’t know what the fuck we’re doing here, but we’re really happy to be here. And until someone comes with a hook, we’re gonna stay.”

—Win Butler, Aug. 28, 2010

As albums go, The Suburbs is ironically our least favourite Arcade Fire album, and we wish this version of the band could have performed future material that we love from Reflektor and Everything Now. But this concert, documented for posterity by the BBC, stands as the pinnacle of a band at the peak of their powers.

Watch Arcade Fire at Reading 2010 here (followed by the setlist):

VIDEO: Peak Arcade Fire happened 10 years ago today at the 2010 Reading Festival in England

For more on Arcade Fire, please visit their website.

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