Arcade Fire brings social awareness, nostalgia to Watsco Center

Stage stands strong in the middle of the venue

“Electric Blue,” the ninth song off indie rock band Arcade Fire’s latest album “Everything Now,” aptly described the ambience of the Infinite Content Tour at the Watsco Center Sept. 24.

Blue strobe lights and two huge disco balls threw flecks of blue around the crowd and into the smoke machine haze hanging in the air, lending the venue an azure tone for the Montreal natives’ two-hour set.

The concert may have been held on the University of Miami campus, but most of the 5,500-plus concertgoers earned their diplomas three to 13 years ago, with most in attendance somewhere between the ages of 25 and 35.

Wolf Parade, an indie rock band who also hails from Montreal, opened for Arcade Fire with a 45-minute set featuring songs off its upcoming album, such as “You’re Dreaming,” as well as older songs, including the dark and heavy “This Heart’s On Fire.”.

Arcade Fire took the stage a little before 9 p.m. and played a 20-song set with a three-song encore. Four years have passed since the band’s last album drop – “Reflektor” in 2013 – and fans were clearly thrilled to see Arcade Fire making new music and back on the road.

Up close during their 20-song set

The show was part of the South Florida leg of the tour. The Miami stop comes before the band heads to Haiti, a country dear to the artists’ hearts.

The band brought up 10-year-old motivational speaker and Miami Shores Elementary student Ronyde Christina Ponthieux to encourage concertgoers to stand behind an 18-month extension of temporary protected status for Haitian immigrants.

As for the music, the headliners started strong — on a stage set up in the middle of the floor — with their latest hit “Everything Now,” and the entire venue sang in unison. The “na na na” of the refrain was loud enough to give even the security guards chills.

Next up was “Signs of Life,” another song off the new album, After the saxophone-laden, Bowie-sounding number, the band continued with a solid mix of throwbacks and current music.

Halfway into the set, a theater marquee animation reading “Arcade Fire Presents The Suburbs,” complete with blinking bulbs, lit up the screens and received wild applause as the band launched into “The Suburbs.”

“Neighborhood #3 (Power Out),” a song with lighter, piano-infused verses and a raucous refrain, ended the set.

Then came the encore. The band wrapped with “Wake Up,” one of their biggest hits to date, and a walk through the pit.

Overall, the mix of new and old music and captivating special effects made for a great performance.