I’d be quick to wager that most music lovers had the exact same reaction to news that Arcade Fire and The National were touring together that I did: “Holy crap!!”.
But that is precisely what we’re being blessed with on April 24 and 25 at UIC Pavilion.
It’s not often anymore that two of indie rock’s heavy hitters tour on the same bill. Back in the day it was commonplace, especially when two “fringe” or “alternative” artists were on the same label.
I’ll never forget seeing the U2 “Zoo TV” tour with Pixies in the supporting slot. I recall late 80s New Order tours: one with Public Image Ltd. and The Sugarcubes, another co-headlined with Echo & The Bunnymen (which came to the old Poplar Creek Music Theatre). I was too young to attend either of those. Then there was the summer day on which I saw an outdoor ampitheatre show featuring Violent Femmes and The B-52s (I missed most of the B-52s set because I was crowd surfing….yes, at a B-52s concert…shaddap, I don’t wanna hear it. I was young and stupid.)
Point being, this is a special treat that two incredible bands are playing together and as of this morning, a 2nd show has been added in anticipation of the manic rush that will be the purchasing of tickets when they go on sale tomorrow morning.
Not that the UIC Pavilion is the first place that comes to peoples’ minds as the world’s greatest music venue, but a show of this magnitude simply must take place in a larger space (lest they book several shows). What we do have going for us is that you are more or less close to the stage no matter where you are in the arena, and sightlines are perfect throughout.
If you’ve yet to witness the spectacle that is Arcade Fire in concert, brace yourself. Anyone who was at one of their Spring ’07 gigs at Chicago Theatre can attest to that. Since then we’ve only been graced with a Lollapalooza 2010 appearance. But when a group is as good and as in-demand as they are, the days of intimate venues are naturally over.
Much the same can be said for The National. A fortunate few saw them on a 5-band bill at the Fireside Bowl in November of ’99 (that was years before I moved to Chicago, so I get a pass!). My first experience with The National was at Schubas in 2005, then there was the incredible night of their gig at the Metro in ’07. And to be quite honest, they sounded fantastic at Lollapalooza 2008 during late afternoon twilight on the Petrillo Band Shell filling the slot that followed Love & Rockets on the near main stage, and preceding Nine Inch Nails.
So while we can no longer enjoy these two groups in more favorable venues, we can still rejoice that we get to experience them together in one show. Set your alarms for tomorrow, as I can’t imagine these tickets lasting long.
They cost $51 (WELL worth it, plus a portion of the price includes a donation to Partners In Health), they go on sale tomorrow Saturday Jan. 22 at 11am and you can get them through the Jam Productions website.