Photos/Videos: Arcade Fire @ Jazz Fest 2011

Arcade Fire @ Jazz Fest 2011

Jazz Fest is wrapping up today, and I’ve had a fantastic time here in New Orleans taking in the sights. There have been some seriously great moments here and I really am starting to understand the appeal of making this festival a yearly institution. And while I always find it difficult to report on festivals after the fact, it’s a bit easier for me to summarize at least three of my highlights so far, all of which involving the band, Arcade Fire.

First off, I was fortunate enough to get a press pass for the main stage headliners at the fairgrounds and there was no chance in hell that I was going to miss an opportunity to shoot these crazy Canadians. Once they hit the stage and the crowd went wild, I got a miracle of good fortune that contributed huge to my photo quality; Jimmy Grotting just so happened to have an extra lens with him and he quickly contributed that to the cause. The lens I had resulted in some less than stellar Galactic and Wilco shots the day before, so you’ll notice a huge improvement in these shots, maybe some of the best I’ve ever taken. Plus they played “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)” as the third song, which is one of my favorites and one I’m glad I got to see up close.

Then the band encored with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and brought out Cyndi Lauper to trade off vocal duties with Regine, which is crazy considering that I had seen a minute or two of Lauper’s set the day before and this was the only song I heard while I was within earshot.

From Rolling Stone…

Lauper’s appearance capped a triumphant show for fans and the band, who are obviously loving this moment of meeting America 50,000 people at a time. The energy onstage was relentless without feeling forced or exhausting, and Butler at time seemed genuinely humbled as he looked at the audience. He worked to connect with New Orleans on multiple levels, explaining that “The Suburbs” was influenced by a drive from Houston to New Orleans, and asserting, “How we’ll be judged is how we deal with Haiti and New Orleans.”

The set was jaw-dropping for me. The band’s latest album never completely floored me but their performance of the songs live really nailed it; I’ll definitely be throwing this back on the iPod…

Finally, yesterday was a day of relaxation for me and my crew and we headed through the midtown area to get some breakfast and then head up to a park near the levees. On our way, we happened upon Win and Regine just hanging out in front of a po-boy stand with a small crew of handlers. They were waiting for a cab, which was exactly what we were doing. After a few of us thanked them for the excellent set the day before, Win got in the back of a car to get taken off somewhere with a black van arriving soon after to pick up the rest of their crew. Definitely a bit of a starstruck moment for me.

Check out my best shots below and some videos from the set below.

Here was the opener of the show (shot by njryan73):

“Haiti” was definitely a relevant and obvious setlist choice…

From our very own Wesley Hodges, the first half of the encore with Cyndi Lauper…

Via @ArcadeFireTube…