Arcade Fire perform new arrangements on Sound Opinions | WBEZ
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Arcade Fire premiere new arrangements of 'Sprawl II' and 'We Used To Wait' on Sound Opinions

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

It's difficult to describe the cultural space Arcade Fire currently occupies. On the one hand, they recently won the Album of the Year Grammy, by definition moving them into the upper echelon of working musicians. On the other hand, when Barbra Streisand announced the award, she read "The Suburbs" as if it were the band's name, not their album title.

Babs wasn't alone. Enraged post-Grammys social media missives were collected at, including confused tweets from Rosie O'Donnell and Dog the Bounty Hunter.

And when band members sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at Chicago's Wrigley Field a few weeks later, the "Who are these guys?" meme was repeated on sports blogs all over again. The incensed sportswriters could have been clued in by the 27,000 fans who saw the band perform that weekend in Chicago (or the NFL ads that use their song "Wake Up).

Perhaps mainstream music fans feel baffled because Arcade Fire refuses to conduct their career along traditional lines. For one thing, they're still signed to an independent label, Merge Records. For another, they don't do very many media appearances. That's one of the reasons we were excited they argeed to record a session for WBEZ's Sound Opinions during their tour stop in Chicago.

The session was a special one for us, as it's rare that we have 8 band members performing at once. Oh, and we also don't have Grammy-winners stopping by on their victory laps very often (who does?).

Instead of resting on their well-deserved laurels, the band worked out some new musical ideas in the studio, so these performances are completely unique.

We Used To Wait

This post is part of our Live Music Thursday podcast- click here to subscribe.

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