There I was, just sitting at my desk on what was shaping up to be an average Wednesday, until I get a phone call that changed everything. Friend Mike, who I oft hosted for lawn beers, asked me if I wanted to see Arcade Fire and Devo perform at the United Center, that day…in his boss’ fully catered luxury box. The answer was an obvious and enthusiastic ‘yes’, so he picked me right up from work, with the T-Tops down, and we were tearing down the highway.
We were some of the first ones there, and once gates 2 1/2 opened up, we strutted over to our suite. No one else showed up for another half hour, but that just gave us the chance to lay into the mini fridge and cheese platter. The box was on the lower level at half court and offered a view from the stage flank that was neither too perpendicular to nor far from the action on stage. The plebs were milling about as I enjoyed my blue and brie on high.
Finally, the rest of the group showed up, as did our own personal meat carver. I really don’t know how to assess someone’s carving prowess, but after tasting what he placed on my plate I was very much satisfied with his work; that was some of the finest meat I’ve eaten in a very long time. There was also a dessert cart that came by and provided me with a perfect piece of carrot cake, and some sipping liquor in a small chocolate cup.
The music kicked off with Devo, which you may [or may not] recognize as the creative force behind “Whip It”. They apparently live in Rockford, IL and were willing to join the tour for just this stop. I must admit that although I knew very little of their catalog, it is always great to witness any icon that has made a lasting contribution to pop culture. They are quite a bit older now so something about the performance seemed odd – it was just so far from their normal audience. We amused ourselves by considering that both my dad and I could have seen them open for someone. They of course wore their signature hazmat suits, and unmistakable red energy domes, along with several other matching get ups throughout the show. I can imagine that these were some quirky guys back in the day, and worthy of their cult favor.
There was some DJ entertaining the pit between sets, which I actually thought made a lot more sense than people just standing in silence. Once the stage was set, the army of Arcade Fire members came on out, 10 in all. I must admit that I only knew one or two songs by them, but as Grammy winning artists the overall quality of the music was high enough to be entertained throughout. There wasn’t a whole lot of transition talk between songs, just boom boom boom – music. At several points during the show, there were people walking through the audience and on stage with enormous heads. It was bizarre. I have an awful camera on my phone, but this at least shows our proximity to the stage.
Once everything was wrapped up, I laughed at everyone working, almost competing, to vehemently agree with what our host thought of the show. Of course it was a great performance, but I can’t imagine that the older members of our party truly felt as they were all suggesting. I was very grateful to have had such a first experience at America’s largest indoor arena (by size, not capacity), and also to see some live music. Mike and I wouldn’t get home until after midnight, and I just dumped myself into my bed once I got there. What a Wednesday.