Arctic Monkeys are finally back in business. After the release of their 5thstudio album, ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel + Casino’ back in May, the band embarked on their 13 date UK tour at the start of the month. And yes, we were one of the lucky ones to get our hands on one of the heavily sought-after ticket for the Sheffield legends performance on the 12thSeptember at London’s O2 Arena. With support from American band, The Lemon Twigs, the anticipation for the band’s comeback after 5 years out of business was rife.
Tickets for Arctic Monkeys tour went on sale in April with an initial 9-date tour, the demand for tickets was overwhelming and lead to an increase in shows including added dates for Manchester and London. The Mercury-nominated, ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel + Casino’ gained controversy after its release as it seemed that AM had taken a detour from the sounds its fans were used to hearing. Compared to the bands last album, ‘AM’ recognised for its heavy guitar riffs and an excellent display of skills from Matt Helders on the drums across all of the tracks from the album including ‘R U Mine?’ and ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, this album featured the majority of songs written from the piano. With vibes of David Bowie and late Beatles consistent across tracks such as ‘The Ultracheese’ and ‘Four Out of Five’, it seemed the band had suddenly aged from the days of smashing Smirnoff Ice and getting involved with Riot Vans. But to the bands dedicated fans, the change came with grace. Yes, it’s different, and yes, it’s not the indie-rock band that were so familiar of, but it cannot’ be denied that the band still know how to produce a record.
After the shows in Manchester, the setlist for the night was indefinite. With the band trialling new tracks, ‘Star Treatment’ and ‘One Point Perspective’ across the board, it was the bands classic that we were all anticipating knowing. Some nights featured ‘A View From The Afternoon’ whilst others gladly witnessed ‘Teddy Picker’ taken from the bands second album, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’. For London, it was guesswork until the night arrived.
The packed out O2 arena welcomed the night with the opener taken from the new album, ‘Star Treatment’, quickly followed by the surging mosh pits and wailing sounds of ‘Brianstorm’. It was safe to say that after a potentially questionable opener, the band still killed it with no sweat of their back. Other firm favourites from early albums followed quickly with Humbug favourite ‘Crying Lightning’ and ‘505’ which as any Monkeys fan will know normally sees an appearance from fellow Last Shadow Puppets member Miles Kane, but this tour, unfortunately not. Alongside the early albums, the night did not disappoint with bringing back the buzz from AM. ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ and ‘Knee Socks’ graced the bill with ease, it was clear to see that Alex’s new monotone didn’t change the power and finesse that we knew from 5 years ago. Even with the additions of new tour band members, the band constantly killed it with every single track across all of the albums.
We simply couldn’t get enough credit to the night. From the cascading set piece taken from TBH+C artwork at the start of every new track, to the roaring success of tracks old and new, to the suave styling across all band members, it was an exceptional night and one that won’t be forgotten any time soon. With an encore that completely stole the entire night, the fans were graced with the sure favourites of ‘I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor’, ‘Arabella’ and finishing up last but certainly not least with ‘R U Mine?’. How on earth could we have asked for anything more than what we got? Arctic Monkeys went above and beyond all of the expectations of the night and proved themselves yet again as one of the most inviting, captivating and musically gifted bands of the 21st Century. But hopefully we won’t be waiting another 5 years for more from the Monkeys, because it’s safe to say that we already craving MORE.