(Kinda) seeing Arcade Fire at The Forum
Tenley Nordstrom checked out Arcade Fire’s gig last week. Well, she would have done if she could have seen/heard what was happening…
Let’s face it, a lot of concerts these days are expensive, but when I saw there were still tickets available for Arcade Fire at the newly re-opened “Fabulous” Forum in LA, I decided to snap one up. Like most Angeleno’s my age, disposable income is scarce so I did the responsible thing- ate butter noodles for dinner the whole week. Had I already seen them at Coachella? Yes. But what’s $88 to see my favorite band again? I never would have dreamed my answer would be “way too fucking much”.
I’m used to being on the floor at shows, but I figured if I had to have an upper seating ticket, side-stage was ace. The side of the stage is always a great way to get close to bands while everyone else is pushing for middle front. So I’d be a little farther back, but it shouldn’t matter with a band like Arcade Fire. Wrong.
The view I had would be backstage at any other concert that I have been to. Look at the photos. I paid $88 dollars plus $25 dollars for parking to stare at the backsides of Arcade Fire for an hour-and-a-half.
I tried hard to lose myself in the moment. Alright, Flashbulb Eyes was AWESOME (not played at Coachella)! Let’s do this! I’m at a concert with my favorite band! But it was incredibly difficult. I tried to tell myself just to be happy I was there at all. But $115 is a lot of money for a concert in LA and, I have to say, I would have rather not spent my money. That should tell you something about how I feel that I was even sold a ticket in that spot at all. The screens that were hanging on the the sides of the stage weren’t of value to me. I was right straight on the side – in line with it. The screen blocked part of my view on top of it all. The sound was being projected away from me leaving guesses as to what song they were playing sometimes. The Forum should simply not sell tickets in these seats – or – they need to lower the prices by half. You may say to yourself that $40 is cheap for a concert, but this is not unheard of in LA. LA is the mecca of amazing venues. The Shrine, The Belasco, The Fonda, El Rey, The Wiltern, The Greek, The Hollywood Bowl… I could go on and on. All would have a better view worth paying for. I was essentially standing in what would be backstage at other venues and not in a good way. I caught myself joking, “Hey! Look at those people down there enjoying a concert!”
I do wonder why Arcade Fire never played up to the sides of the stage. They could have helped it along a bit. When Win sat down at the piano facing us to play The Suburbs, he STILL only faced towards the front with his body. Not until they played Sprawl ll was I finally lost in the concert experience. Then I realized Sprawl ll was the last song before encore.
When I saw Kid Cudi at Coachella, I was so far away he was a mere dot, but he made sure to address the back specifically and to connect with us. He made being at a concert with tens of thousands of people feel small and intimate. I didn’t even know that much about him and I was so in love with that moment and that experience. I don’t want to feel like I could have just been at home listening to someone’s record. I also think Arcade Fire needs to take some set list cues from Beck. Beck knows his latest album was chill, so he played one song from it and the rest was boogie time. Win yelled, “Let’s burn this house down!” Then a few songs later played Suburban War. “Haven’t played this one in three years.” Yeah, with good reason Win. If we’re going to burn the house down, how about Month of May?
In the end, I wonder why Arcade Fire chose The Forum?
Words by Tenley Nordstrom