Aspen is fucking weird, man. To celebrate #ThrowbackThursday, we're looking back to this last New Year's Eve, which we spent at a bizarre yet quintessentially Aspen party: At midnight we had a clear view of fireworks over the mountains — if only Win Butler would've moved his head.
In a purple-lighted plastic tent in the courtyard of the St. Regis in Aspen, Butler and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire, as well as a few Haitian musicians, performed a handful of Arcade Fire songs for about 150 party-goers who had paid $1,500 per seat. (Needless to say, we had no business being there.) The event, celebrity-hosted by Susan Sarandon and others, was a fundraiser for Artists for Peace and Justice, aimed at raising money for schools and aid efforts in Haiti.
There was caviar toast, bottomless champagne and Rufus Wainwright in scarves. American Idol runner-up and actress Katharine McPhee "stopped by" to sing a New Year's song. (There's a reason we all only know "Auld Lang Syne.")
Somewhere between the truffle flakes and the two steaks (per person), Butler and Chassagne took the stage. Butler knocked a few champagne glasses onto the floor, seemingly deliberately, causing them to shatter across the floor between him and the audience. We thought it was some sort of political statement, but a reporter for Aspen Public Radio said she thought he accidentally knocked the first glass, and threw the rest to continue the aesthetic. Chassagne wore a mask — we thought, as some sort of political statement — but then again, it was a masquerade ball. They played stripped-down versions of "Rebellion (Lies)," "To the Haitian Nurses Lost" and "Rococo," during which they asked guests to shake along with maracas.
After the awkward auction ("Let's start the bidding at $20,000"), the musicians retook the stage. By now, about fifty people had gathered on the dance floor, including Matt Berninger of the band the National, which had just played the Belly Up. By the end of the set, he had joined Butler on stage for an impromptu rendition of "Wake Up." (Photos below.)
The party continued with a DJ set, in which members of Arcade Fire and their guests played instruments and sang over disco and other dance tracks — including, most appropriately of all, Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money."
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