VOYAGES OF RC! The Reflektors (a/k/a Arcade Fire) @ Little Haiti’s Cultural Center, Miami, FL (10/24/13)
As I listen to Arcade Fire’s new album release today (Reflektor), I am immediately drawn back into the their most recent live performance at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami the Thursday before (10/24/13). The first track, Reflektor, is rich, full and filled with an infectious sound that you can’t help, but groove to. Seeing this track performed live, well, there are few words to really describe the energy. The energy that flowed through my veins as I danced, moved and grooved. Reflektor, perhaps one of the most anticipated albums of 2013, continues to delight the ears, but as with any fabulously talented band, the live experience brings much more to the table.
On Monday, October 14th, we received the announcement that Arcade Fire would perform a very special show at Little Haiti’s Cultural Center on Thursday, October 24th. It wouldn’t be too long before we’d find a way to be there. The event would be put together by our local “world music” organization, The Rhythm Foundation, a wonderful organization that supports great music from all over the world. This performance would be part of their series, “Big Night in Little Haiti.” The band wouldn’t be performing as Arcade Fire, but rather, as The Reflektors. Not only would they perform under a different band name, but the band requested that everyone dress up either in a costume or formal wear. To address their requirement, I complied and dressed in both.
Shortly after the announcement of the show in Little Haiti, the band announced another show the day before at a smaller indoor venue, Mekkah. We had already committed to the Thursday show and left it at that. Frankly, we were over the moon about being able to see them in Florida for the first time, regardless whether it was the first show or the second show. This was ARCADE FIRE, in our own hometown of Miami. The anticipation of seeing this band in our own backyard was more than anyone could handle and the buzz in South Florida was beyond anything I think I had ever seen before.
So, here comes the night, a night filled with masks, painted faces, costumes and formal wear. Fans were willing to give in to temptation and this definitely made the evening that much more colorful. The show was called for 7pm, but the band didn’t actually hit the stage until well after 9pm. Before they get onto the stage, there is a full-on Haitian parade, what they refer to as “Karnaval”. The parade includes the Haitian flag being waved high atop the heads of the audience, a few drummers, dancers, children on shoulders and very simple trumpets. As I listen to ‘Here Comes the Night Time,’ I am quickly reminded of the Karnaval and all the energy swirling around me. Getting sucked into it all becomes second nature. See the video below.
Shortly after the Karnaval, The Reflektors take their rightful spots on the stage and the crowd is overwhelmed with joy. They kick off the show with ‘Reflektor’ and of course, the crowd goes wild with excitement. By this time, it had become a butts-to-nuts situation, but everyone was willing to accept this. Despite the tight spot we’d all willingly succumb to, we were happy, smiling fans. At one point, things got so tight, a man chose to climb a dividing wall and we all screamed, “Spiderman!”. The set was short, but seriously sweet, including tunes from Reflektor and a few from albums past. Régine Chassagne, who is of Haitian decent, and Win Butler both made heartfelt pleas to the audience to support initiatives meant to help the folks in Haiti become more self-sufficient. They shared with the audience that a portion of the proceeds from the show would go to this truly worthy cause.
While the evening would definitely take a toll on everyone’s workweek, we all knew we had witnessed something special and felt the human connection between artist and audience.