A glance at their touring schedule would suggest that Arcade Fire's headline slot at Glastonbury would have been the biggest date on their calendar this week but, as we've learned since their now legendary Electric Picnic show in 2005, Arcade Fire hold Ireland in very high regard altogether.
"This is pretty much our favourite city to play in the whole world", frontman Win Butler decreed on stage shortly into their near two-hour appointment on stage at Marlay Park. Now, we're aware that some performers say this sort of thing no matter what city they happen to be in (Snoop Dogg, we're looking at you) but, as they've told entertainment.ie in the past, the Montreal band really do love it here and this mutual love-in catapulted from the stage to the audience, and back again.
Taking to the stage shortly after 8.30pm, Arcade Fire launched straight into 'Normal Person' from their album of last year Reflektor, before returning to more familiar territory like 'Rebellion (Lies)', 'Rococo' and 'The Suburbs'. The theme of surrounding newer songs with older, more familiar material is revisited again and again throughout their set- a good way of maintaining a balance between old and new, particularly when their James Murphy produced fourth album - with its pulsing disco synth identity - alienated a section of their audience.
No matter, though. Arcade Fire packed the show's highlights into a supremely confident confetti-filled finale of 'Sprawl II' (Arcade Fire's best song), the calypso-infused 'Here Comes The Night Time' and, as you might expect, closed their set with a rousing, fist-in-the-air rendition of 'Wake Up'.
Before all of this there was the small matter of The Pixies' biggest Irish show in ten years, though if you were looking for a shred of emotion on the face of lead singer Black Francis in acknowledgement of this auspicious moment you'd be disappointed. Never ones for being the most talkative bunch on stage (or even looking like they're enjoying themselves, for that matter) The Pixies aren’t the sort of band who require a big stage show or confetti to get their point across, their blistering 2 minute rock n' roll songs can do that without any bells or whistles.
The 22 song set ticked all of the necessary bullet points with songs like 'Gouge Away', 'Caribou', 'Here Comes Your Man' and 'Where Is My Mind?' interspersed with newbies 'Bagboy' and 'Indie Cindy' but, new album or not, it was the oldies that this crowd wanted to hear and save for three cuts from the band's new album, that's what they got.
The gig ended in somewhat bizarre fashion, with Francis' guitar cutting out before they were about to launch into 'Debaser' prompting the singer to speak to the crowd for the first time to tell us the gig was over because his guitar died. A bizarre yet fittingly non-typical ending for a band who made their name by never following the rules.