North Carolina recap…

I arrived at the Greensboro Coliseum around 7am, having driven ~12 hours overnight to get there. I stopped twice to rest my eyes along the way, but only once did I manage to fall asleep - and that was only for a single hour - my only hour of sleep between 8am Wednesday and 11pm Thursday night. There was no one there when I arrived other than a handful of truck drivers and venue staff who were starting to show up for work.

I found an isolated spot in the shade where I could rest for a few hours without being hassled by anyone (other than a janitor who just wanted to make sure I wasn’t dead or dying). Flash forward a few hours and I hear the first notes of Arcade Fire tuning their instruments. I wasn’t close enough to clearly see the people on stage, but I picked out Win, Jeremy, RĂ©gine, Colin, Sarah and someone who looked a lot like Richard. The only question remaining was whether or not that other dude onstage was Tim or some guitar tech.

So there I was…spying on the band as they tuned their instruments and soundchecked a handful of songs. In retrospect I must have looked like a junkie to the venue employees that saw me - and they’d have been correct to think that, although not in the traditional sense. As I listened to the Arcade Fire soundcheck Heroes it became clear that I’d made the correct decision to get there for this show - especially since I was pretty sure we had a proper lineup. I made my way down to the line that was forming outside the gate and met up with my brother.

Flash forward a few more hours and we’re on the rail. Before long, Win casually comes out to say ‘hey’ to the people up front. I know it’s probably been said a million times, but Win Butler is easily the most grounded ‘famous’ person I’ve ever been around. Good vibes all around before the show.

Superchunk were fun and enjoyable in the opening slot. They brought lots of energy and played songs that rocked. At one point the singer joked (I’m paraphrasing) ‘that nothing speaks to the issues of this election like a bunch of songs from 1993′.

It was kinda surreal to see Arcade Fire come out and set up their own instruments (in broad daylight) in between sets. Just before the set, Will Butler got up and delivered a (fun) speech about how this election is special not because or race or gender but because we have the chance to elect someone who can fundamentally alter the direction of this country. The gist of it was that he’s tired of all these crappy Presidents (like Rutherford B Hayes - lol) and this was our chance to elect someone who would improve peoples lives (like FDR).

A few songs in, Win gave his own little spiel about how our generation have been exposed to such a high degree of commercials/propaganda as kids that by now we’re able to see clearly through the bullshit.

I’ve said this before but it merits repeating - there’s no place in the world I’d rather be than front row at an Arcade Fire show. The intensity they bring to the brilliant songs they play is like nothing else I’ve experienced. Their timing may have been a little off on one or two of the songs and there were a few minor technical glitches (which are to be expected at a show like this), but that stuff only served to enhance their authenticity - everything about this band feels real and pure. They were in excellent spirits - just happy to be up their playing together again for a cause they believed in. Great. fucking. show.

I left the show with every intention of hitting up Carrboro the following day, but as the exhaustion started to set in on the drive down to my brother’s place in Charlotte (which is in the opposite direction from Carrboro), I decided that I should quit while I was ahead rather than spending 5 hours driving to and from what would probably fail to live up to my Greensboro experience.

I spent the remainder of the weekend lounging around, watching my brother’s collection of taped soccer matches, and playing wiffle ball - it was just like old times…

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