The second of four massive sold out nights at the O2 Arena as part of a run of shows where tickets seemed to be harder to buy than tickets into space. But that’s exactly where Arctic Monkeys wants to take you – to the Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino on the moon.
It’s a unique experience to be in an Arctic Monkeys crowd. Fans of all ages held in suspense, wearing all kinds of vintage merchandise, all equally excited for the band to take the stage. Single Star Treatment opened the show, one of the few songs from the new album to make it onto the set list; it seemed a nice way to ease the audience in before the storm. Running straight into Brianstorm from second album Favourite Worst Nightmare, the crowd changed instantly from slowly swaying along to Alex Turner’s deep vocals, to madly jumping around to Matt Helder’s drum beats. Helder’s lead into a drum solo after the song, something that is sorely missed at gigs nowadays.
Whether it was their first time seeing the band live or the fifth, the excitement of the fans was immense as they were united in this extraordinary experience. As expected, everyone knew the lyrics to all the songs, shouting every iconic line at the stage – and with Turner having written so many iconic lines in his time, it’s no guess why many fans went away having lost their voices. The only moments of silence were during Turner’s acapella rendition of R U Mine? at the very end of the set, and at the start of Do I Wanna Know?, possibly one of AM’s most well-known songs, as everyone seemed to take a deep breath in order to process the weight of what they were about to see performed live. But there were no moments of stillness. Whether they were jumping around, dancing to the beat, or clasping at smartphones desperate to immortalise this experience on social media, everyone was waving their arms at the stage – just like Turner said they would in the song Pretty Visitors, which also made an appearance on the set list.
However, it was the bands own frontman who seemed the most indifferent at times. Singing lyrics like ‘I’ve played to quiet rooms like this before’ from song One Point Perspective from the new album, he seemed to mean it as he glanced around the sold out arena without a care in the world. Turner strode around the stage in an expensive looking navy suit, a world away from the leather jackets he used to sport, rarely interacting with the crowd – except once between songs, he commented saying ‘they’re all about the same shit really’. But it’s the same old shit that the fans love. Songs like Crying Lightning, I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor, and Do Me A Favour all seemed like fan favourites and sent the crowd wild.
With a set list full of iconic hits and a performance that seems effortless, it’s no wonder why everyone has been losing their minds over Arctic Monkeys current tour – it’s definitely an out of world experience.
Review & photos by Tabetha Parrick