REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys barnstorming homecoming show leaves fans wanting more
and live on Freeview channel 276
A blistering set offered something for every fan – although it was no surprise the biggest reaction were reserved for tracks from the band’s 2006 debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, a smash-hit album of a generation which perfectly captured the rawness of four young lads having a good time on a night out in Sheffield.
The sound has expanded and developed over the following six albums – not always to universal praise – culminating in 2022’s excellent The Car and this current world tour, with drummer Matt Helders describing the two nights at Sheffield’s Hillsborough Park as “a victory lap”.
The second night opened with the barnstorming Brianstorm and set the tone for a band at the very top of their game.
Helders admits the band are “detail-orientated” – indeed they practised for a year before their first gig almost 20 years ago to the day – and “take it seriously”
So much so that frontman Alex Turner can seem aloof from his adoring audience with his minimal crowd interaction – one criticism levelled at the band from their hometown shows was the limited banter with the 40,000-plus crowd. A “hello Sheffield” on arrival on stage and an improvised interlude of Turner at the piano singing ‘I want to sit down in Sheffield’ repeatedly as he took a break from standing front centre standing out among the minimal talking between songs.
It was a complete contrast from the excellent support band Hives, whose frontman Howlin' Pelle was a ball of energy for their near-hour set, bounding up and down the stage – even crowd-surfing at one time – and never shutting up between tracks as he built up an expectant crowd even further and no doubt won over a huge number of new fans for the Swedish rockers.
But he was very aware they were just the warm-up as repeatedly namechecked the band everyone had come to see.
Arctic Monkeys delivered a greatest hits set, without some of their greatest hits – chart-topper When the Sun Goes Down and number-four hit Leave Before the Lights Come On among the singles sadly missing – which shows the depth of treasures the quartet can choose from when drawing up a setlist.
Snap Out of It, Don’t Sit Down ’Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair, Crying Lightning and Teddy Picker reinforced the strong start, before From the Ritz to the Rubble – sadly missing from the previous night’s show, but which had opened with a tour debut for A Certain Romance – lifted the proverbial roof off the outdoor venue.
Fluorescent Adolescent, Do I Wanna Know?, fan favourite Mardy Bum and There’d Better Be a Mirrorball – the opening single from the latest album – came and went as Turner, Helders, guitarist Jamie Cook and bassist Nick O’Malley rattled through the tracks before finishing with Body Paint, another single from The Car.
A quick break and it was back for the expected encore – a cover of John Cooper Clarke’s I Wanna Be Yours before the song everyone had been waiting for. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor had the entire park bouncing before R U Mine? a quick wave and exit stage left, leaving the adoring crowd happy, smiling, but wanting so much more.
The UK leg of the band’s world tour continues this week:
June 14 – Ageas Bowl, Southampton;
June 16 – Emirates Stadium, London;
June 17– Emirates Stadium, London;
June 18 – Emirates Stadium, London;
June 23 – Glastonbury Festival;
June 25 – Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.
For tickets, see arcticmonkeys.com