The shows were announced just hours before door time with entry wristbands selling out in under an hour on a pay-what-you-can basis. Proceeds for the four concerts benefit the Plus1 Ukraine Relief Fund.
Byrne joined the band onstage at the 600-person capacity venue to perform a cover of John Lennon and Plastic Ono Band’s “Give Peace a Chance,” the protest song released in 1969. It was the final song of the night, preceded by Arcade Fire’s encore set featuring “Wake Up” and the premiere of “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid),” pulled from their forthcoming sixth studio album WE, out May 6.
Just ahead of the encore, Myers delivered a speech, saying: “You can have the government you want, but once you lose democracy, you are fucked. And so, for the people of Ukraine, I just want to say keep fighting, we’ll support you. Democracy is the way to go.”
He added: “My parents fought the fascists in World War II, this is a real thing. I just want to say, we’ve all been asleep. We’ve all been in Covid hibernation. And now ladies and gentlemen — it’s time to wake up.”
But the show didn’t end with Myers and Byrne. For the fourth night in a row, Arcade Fire took the show outdoors, leading the buzzing crowd through the Delancey Street subway station and back to the venue before wrapping up for the evening.
Hours after the initial surprise show on March 18, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler announced his departure from the band. He was absent from the concerts but completed recording on the new album before initiating the split.