The year 2005 had been pretty awesome for the Canadian indie-rock band Arcade Fire.
They'd been featured on the April 4 cover of Time's Canadian edition. On May 1, they performed at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and later that month signed a contract with EMI for their album Funeral. The BBC used the track "Wake Up" on an advertisement for upcoming season. On September 9, the band appeared on the British/U.S. TV special "Fashion Rocks," in which David Bowie joined them for "Wake Up." They appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and held a concert in Central Park, featuring a surprise appearance by Bowie. On September 11, the band appeared on the long-running BBC series Top of the Pops. Life was pretty damn good.
Nine days later, when the band played a sold-out show at the Crystal Ballroom on September 20, 2005, they were clearly having a good time. So for their encore, they didn't just play on stage - they marched the entire crowd down the stairs and out onto the intersection of 14th and Burnside.
For a Huffington Post article, Crystal music director Jimi Biron remembered, "When the show was over, [the band] got offstage with their instruments and began to walk down three flights of stairs outside -- in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, you have Arcade Fire playing. The cops showed up and I was sure they were going to shut it down. Instead, the police stopped traffic so that the band could continue to play."
For everyone who was there, it was an epically wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience. We honored that magical night by naming one of the Crystal Hotel's guestrooms after the band's streetside version of "Wake Up," depicted here by McMenamins artist Reeva Wortel.
And here's a YouTube clip of that street performance:
Happy holidays, one and all!