Beck Second Opener to Leave Arcade Fire Tour After Win Butler Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Arcade Fire is having trouble keeping name acts in the opening slots for its arena tours. Beck has now dropped out of his position as the opener for the group’s U.S. tour, without any explanation so far.

In an email sent to ticket buyers, Beck was described only as “unfortunately no longer able to join Arcade Fire on their upcoming North American tour. Taking his place will be Boukman Eksperyans,” described as a Grammy-nominated Haitian roots band.

Contacted by Variety, Beck’s reps declined to comment on his bowing out.

The move was not necessarily a surprise, as fans had already been speculating whether the singer-songwriter might exit the Arcade Fire outing, after Win Butler was accused of sexual misconduct in an August Pitchfork article. Feist dropped out of her opening slot on the European leg of the tour after playing just the first two dates.

There was no indication that any refunds would be offered in the wake of Beck’s exit; they typically would not be when opening acts depart a tour. However, buyers may be more irked than they might normally be in such a situation, as Beck is unusually high-profile as opening acts go, and the promise of a double-bill featuring a second artist who has headlined large venues himself may have been a tipping point in some ticket purchases.

“Him opening was a large part of the reason I shelled out for excellent seats,” said one user in a Reddit thread about Beck dropping out. “I couldn’t be less interested in his replacement. This is what I get for jumping on tickets day 1. People are gonna be able to score em on the resale market for like $40.”

Beck was slated to performing acoustically and not doing the kind of full band set he would as a headliner, however.

As this article was being published, the dates remained listed on Beck’s website, showing him starting the Arcade Fire tour Oct. 27 in Washington, D.C., and continuing for 18 concerts with the group, wrapping up Dec. 1 in Toronto. Gigs affected along the way include a Nov. 4 show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and a two-night stand at L.A.’s Kia Forum Nov. 16-17. Six of the shows are listed as sellouts.

Feist released a statement Sept. 1 describing her unease with the accusations against Butler and her struggle over whether to stick it out for the sake of her band and fans or not. She wrote in part in an Instagram post, “To stay on tour would symbolize I was either defending or ignoring the harm caused by Win Butler, and to leave would imply I was the judge and jury. I was never here to stand for or with Arcade Fire — I was here to stand on my own two feet on a stage, a place I’ve grown to feel I belong and I’ve earned as my own. I play for my band, my crew, their loved ones and all of our families and the people who pay their hard-earned money to share space in the collective synergy that is a show.”

Feist continued, “I’m imperfect and I will navigate this decision imperfectly, but what I’m sure of is the best way to take care of my band and crew and my family is to distance myself from this tour, not this conversation. The last two nights on stage, my songs made this decision for me. Hearing them through this lens was incongruous with what I’ve worked to clarify for myself through my whole career... This has been incredibly difficult for me and I can only imagine how much more difficult it’s been for the people who came forward (with their experiences with Butler). More than anything! Wish healing to those involved.”

In the Pitchfork article, which opened up a chasm between Arcade Fire fans who stood behind Butler and those who felt they no longer could, the band leader was accused of sexual misconduct by four people. Three women alleged encounters that were “inappropriate given the gaps in age, power dynamics, and context in which they occurred,” while a fourth person, who is gender-fluid, alleged that Butler sexually assaulted them twice in 2015.

In response, Butler issued a statement saying that all of the encounters with the individuals in the article were consensual, while acknowledging “poor judgment, and mistakes I have made. … Every single one of these interactions has been mutual and always between consenting adults. It is deeply revisionist, and frankly just wrong, for anyone to suggest otherwise. … I fucked up, and while not an excuse, I will continue to look forward and heal what can be healed, and learn from past experiences. I can do better and I will do better.”

Beck’s most recent appearance was a surprise solo-acoustic set at L.A.’s Largo this week, appearing at a Judd Apatow-hosted benefit with Loudon Wainwright III, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean.

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