Watch Arcade Fire and David Byrne cover Plastic Ono Band’s “Give Peace A Chance” at Ukraine benefit show

The John Lennon protest song was played against the backdrop of escalating conflict

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Arcade Fire and David Byrne covered Plastic Ono Band’s protest song “Give Peace A Chance” at the final night of four Ukraine benefit gigs in New York City.

The Canadian band were joined by the legendary soloist and former Talking Heads frontman for the rendition of John Lennon and Plastic Ono Band’s 1969 single on March 21 at Bowery Ballroom.

The performance wrapped Arcade Fire’s stint at the NYC venue that has raised money for the Plus1 Ukraine Relief Fund. Initially, the band announced a last-minute show at the Ballroom on Friday (March 18), saying that attendees could pay what they could afford.


But more spontaneous pay-what-you-feel shows followed over the weekend into last night’s gig, at which Byrne made a special appearance as well as actor Mike Myers.

Myers made a political speech ahead of the encore, which saw Arcade Fire play “Wake Up” and the unreleased “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” from their forthcoming album WE.

“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 said.

“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.”


As Rolling Stone reports, the 600-person capacity shows were announced just hours before door time with entry wristbands selling out in under an hour.

It added that last night’s show didn’t wrap with Myers and Byrne. Continuing what they’d done on the preceding evenings, Arcade Fire took the gig outdoors, leading fans through the Delancey Street subway station and back to the venue before wrapping up.

Meanwhile, Arcade Fire band member Will Butler has announced that he’s left the group after two decades writing and performing with them.

The band were founded by multi-instrumentalist Butler’s brother Win in Montreal in the early 2000s, with Butler joining in 2004 ahead of their debut album, Funeral.

Arcade Fire returned last week with news of their sixth album and a video for first single “The Lightning I, II”, in which Butler did not appear.

Originally published on NME

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