It’s hard to make a memory at a festival like this, to cut through the din, the heat, the corporate branding, to seize people’s attention and manufacture a genuine moment. Occasionally sets transcend setting; more often they’re the wallpaper of a weekend’s memories. There are a few ways to try and affect a positive result on the memorability front, though. Like, play a fun cover (as when Spoon covered Wolf Parade’s “The Modern World,” though they do that often), or spend $150,000 on your stage (ala Gaga). Or just be Arcade Fire. Last week, the band received its official coronation at Madison Square Garden, an indie troupe that always belonged on the world stage, seizing it with no reservation and a side of Terry Gilliam. It was triumphant, or at least so we heard; while you guys were on Vevo, we were at the Vic, seeing Soundgarden lay waste to Chicago’s Vic Theatre, which cleared the way for us to spend the last hours of this year’s Lollapalooza with one of our first Bands To Watch. And that’s what they were Sunday, as they always have been. Doing it with tens of thousands last night felt full of both inevitability and emotion. The Funeral songs have always wanted a crowd this large, and they resonated most deeply. “Crown Of Love” was dedicated to “our good friends in the National,” who had just finished a set across at the adjacent Playstation Stage and used to chide Arcade Fire for not playing that song enough; Grant Park erupted into the wave, a spontaneous and goosepimply moment that heightened the drama, tightened the air for the last half of Lolla’s most memorable set. “Rococo”‘s strains ricocheted around the park, Regine spun to the “Sprawl II.” Win thanked the crowd for having such energy at the festival’s end. Yes, it was memorable; a band and their fans both wanting, and properly prepared for, an epic moment. You saw the YouTube from MSG, you know they’re ready for your arenas. Let it be known they’re ready to headline all your festivals, too. This is a good week for Arcade Fire, just like it is for anyone who loves them. And they made for a beautiful end to a long Lolla weekend.
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