LIVE: Arctic Monkeys @ Sheffield FlyDSA Arena 22.09.18
WORDS BY DAVID WILKINSON PHOTOS BY GLENN ASHLEY
Saturday 22nd September saw the final night of Arctic Monkeys’ triumphant 4-day run of gigs in their hometown of Sheffield. You could forgive them for being tired. Especially after a gruelling tour that’s taken them round the world and is still not finished. But this isn’t an ordinary band we’re talking about. This is Arctic Monkeys. This is a band which has shaped a generation of indie music lovers. They don’t do things by halves.
Their latest album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ showed that they haven’t lost any of the talent which saw them break onto the scene in 2006 and change the music landscape in the UK. Sure, the formula changes with each album but the quality remains and 12 years after their debut you still get the feeling this is a band that’s best years are still ahead of them.
I say this with certainty because on this particular evening, in front of their people, they were better than I have ever seen them. Opening with ‘Four Out Of Five’ off their latest album they ripped through old and new tracks. ‘Brianstorm’ is the perfect second song in a set. It sees pints getting thrown, bodies going wild and people humming the tune at the top of their voices. Is there a more perfect sight than watching all that sort of madness unfold at a gig?
‘Dancing Shoes’ quickly follows and it really struck me how well the songs of their first album still stand up. Alex Turner prowls the stage throughout the gig but the high point of his performance is during ‘Cornerstone’ where the camera follows him throughout. Staring into the camera he just completely oozes sex appeal. That sarcastic smile on his face, his hips gyrating, he knows exactly how to work an audience.
The following track ‘One Point Perspective’ is the best on the latest album for me. It’s a song which budding songwriters should study. The lyrics are perfect, the pacing is perfect, it really is Turner on top of his game. Tracks like this just remind you of how good of a songwriter he actually is. The best of our generation? It would be hard to argue against that.
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The biggest sing-a-long of the night comes when they play an accapella version of ‘A Certain Romance’. A song that still resonates with people today all these years later. If anyone tells you Arctic Monkeys aren’t a political band then put this track on for them. Turner was writing about the demonisation of the working-classes long before Owen Jones wrote a best-selling book about it. Here, it echoes around the FlyDSA arena beautifully. Thousands of people all sing at the top of their lungs in unison. It’s a perfect moment.
The double-header of ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High’ and ‘Do I Wanna Know’ gets the crowd grooving with the riff to the latter shuddering your entire body. Turner’s vocal range is on full show during these tracks. Each lyric is delivered with an infectious attitude. Some bands can only dream of being able to perform tracks this good.
The encore is the brilliant ‘Star Treatment’, ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘R U Mine?’. That Saturday in Sheffield we were theirs. They had the crowd in the palm of their hand and they knew it. 12 years on from their debut album we’re still obsessed with this band and they continue to create music that surprises and enthralls us. As weird as it sounds this is a band that’s probably just getting started.