On a stage surrounded by forestry at Hyde Park, Arcade Fire were the first of seven headliners to perform as part of Barclaycard British Summer Time at the venue. Less than a week after headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival, Arcade Fire played their last UK gig of 2014 and signalled the end of their Reflektor tour after its release in October 2013. The band was joined on the main stage throughout the day with performances from Future Islands, Wild Beasts and Jake Bugg.
Hyde Park was decked out in full force featuring food stalls, merchandise stands, fairground rides and bars aplenty for its hosting of Barclaycard Summer Time, featuring six separate days full of music across the first two weekends of July. The sunshine played a huge part in the atmosphere of the day, and set the tone for the midst of festival season.
First to take to the stage in the late afternoon were Baltimore-based synthpop four-piece, Future Islands. With the energy of frontman Samuel T. Herring, the audience interaction was great and his stream of crazy dance moves was amusing for all. Highlights of the set included ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)‘ and ‘Sun in the Morning’, both from the band’s fourth album, Singles.
Following the tour of their fourth studio album, Present Tense, Wild Beasts were next on the line-up. The band’s Present Tense album artwork made for a perfect backdrop to the summer evening, and the band gave a great set featuring a range of songs from all of their albums. Stand out songs included the first single of Present Tense, ‘Wanderlust‘, and ‘Lion’s Share’ from 2011’s Smother.
The last of the support acts to perform was Nottingham-born Jake Bugg. Fans danced towards the stage as he opened his set with ‘Seen It All‘ from his latest album Shangri La, released in 2013. As the last act before the main event of the evening, Bugg had the biggest crowd of the day and played to it with a strong performance with ‘Lightning Bolt‘ and ‘Messed Up Kids‘ being the songs with the best reception.
Fans were graced with the presence of their fake band, ‘The Reflektors’ and a papier-maché headed pope before Arcade Fire took to the stage in the late evening. The males of the band were dressed in white dinner suits with flashes of neon green and pink, and frontwoman Régine Chassagne was sporting a flower crown. The band’s two-hour set began with ‘Normal Person’ from Reflektor, closely followed by ‘Rebellion (Lies)‘, from their first studio album, Funeral.
Something that was different about Arcade Fire’s set was the lack of Reflektor-related visuals due to the venue being outside. Although this was something that seemed to be missing from the performance, it did not at all take away from the overall atmosphere of the show. It was completely made up for by the presence of a sunset in the middle of the set.
Throughout the set Arcade Fire covered a huge range of songs from all four of their albums. The stand out songs of the night included ‘We Exist‘, ‘Intervention’ from the band’s second album Neon Bible and as an infinite personal favourite, ‘No Cars Go’. Every song was met with the same excitement and enjoyment by all fans and the atmosphere was perfect. The encore included songs from the first and latest album, Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out) and Here Comes the Night Time featuring a confetti cannon and an impressive light display.
There was no questioning the sadness felt when the set came to an end, especially with the knowledge that it was Arcade Fire’s last UK performance of 2014 – although fans’ spirits can be lifted at least a little bit by Win Butler’s mention at the end of their Glastonbury set that the band were set to work on their fifth studio album. But, given that there was a three year wait between The Suburbs and Reflektor, it is time to say goodbye to Arcade Fire at least for this year.