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Because on a Random Saturday Night, The Arcade Fire Showed Up on a Street Corner, Strapped on Their Guitars, and Tore Through a Set of Cure, Pixies, and New Order Covers

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No. 63
Late one fall Saturday night, three members of blockbuster Montreal indie-rock band the Arcade Fire were heading back to their hotel after a wedding, when they decided (why not? They had their instruments with them) to play an impromptu show on the south side of Union Square Park. Brothers Win and Will Butler took out their guitars and vocalist Régine Chassagne started tapping out the beat on one of their cases. As the trio launched into the Pixies’ “Wave of Mutilation,” most passersby rushed past, oblivious. But for the few lucky (and alert) music fans who happened to walk by, it was the street concert to end all street concerts. Jeff Byrd, an Austin-based recording engineer, recalls: “I was coming out of the station, and I thought, I know that voice . . . We ran up the stairs, and there was Win. It was absurd. There was literally fifteen people there, and everyone was freaking out, like completely freaking out.” The group covered songs by New Order and the Cure, then packed up their things—but not before at least one astute fan captured the moment on his digital camera (above). Natalie Kaufman, a copywriter, says, “It was incredible. Everyone there kept looking at each other like, Is this really happening? We just happened to be the lucky schmoes who were there.”

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