Arcade Fire returned to Saturday Night Live for the fifth time, and for the first time since 2018, alongside host and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
With their fifth performance, Arcade Fire joins their own Five-Timers Club, alongside Miley Cyrus, James Taylor, Kanye West, Rihanna and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. (Arcade Fire also served as the backing band for Mick Jagger’s performance on SNL in 2012)
Following their memorable 2013 appearance, Arcade Fire aired a 30-minute concert special directed by Roman Coppola and featuring cameos from Bono, Ben Stiller, James Franco, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, and more. During the special, the group performed new songs “Here Comes the Night Time”, “Normal Person”, and “We Exist”. Watch the single performance below.
The band released their latest album WE on Friday, May 6, as well as the announcement of a world tour that will see them in the Big Apple in November.
For tonight saturday night live, the show stayed in tune with the news of the week as the cold open poked fun at the age-old argument Judge Alito references in his draft Dobbs vs. Jackson. This is SNL at its best, poking fun at the establishment and shining a light on the modern morality of social issues.
Cumberbatch celebrated mothers in his monologue, including his mother as well as his wife, but no overt reference to Dr. Strange was found tonight. However, Cumberbatch was joined later in the show with a surprise appearance by Multiverse of Madness co-starred Elizabeth Olson in “The Understudy.”
Noting that two of his favorite words are “Arcade Fire,” Cumberbatch introduced the musical guest, who dove into “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” off WE. With wacky inflatable tube men in front of the stage, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne led the group through the enchanting number, ending with Butler saying “I love you mom.”
During the weekend update, Kate McKinnon made an appearance as Judge Amy Coney Barrett to discuss the apparent intention to overturn Roe v. Wade (against public opinion) citing laws from the 1600s.
Arcade Fire’s second songs, “The Lightning I”, and its album counterpart “The Lightning II”, were accompanied by a purple background casting the shadows of the 9-piece band. The uptempo “The Lightning II” lifted the mood in a dime, creating a froth while pouring it all into “One day a week a month a year, every second brings me here”, culminating with repetition, and ending with “Waiting for the lightning, waiting for the light, what will the light bring?
In keeping with the theme of the Mother’s Day episode, Butler had written “Call Your Mom” on his guitar during these songs, saying at the end “”A woman’s right to choose forever and ever.” Amen.”
To close the show, Cumberbatch and half a dozen cast members wore shirts bearing 1973, a nod to the year of Roe v. Wade. Arcade Fire then took to the SNL stage for a third and final song, “End of the Empire I-IV”, in the credits.
saturday night live returns May 14 with host Selena Gomez and musical guest Post Malone.