Arctic Monkeys – Manchester Arena Review 06/09/18

After the critically acclaimed record that was AM, Arctic Monkeys are back, touring their latest and most divisive album to date; Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino. Delivering a career spanning set, the band take to the stage for the first night of their latest mammoth UK tour to a sell out crowd, showing why the band have become such a pivotal cornerstone to British music over the years.

As the band take to the stage, decked out to look like a 1960s high end hotel on the moon no less, the arena is almost deafening as they kick off the nights proceedings with ‘Four Out of Five’ from their latest album, this song being the most well received of the newer songs. It’s clear right from the get go that the Sheffield troupe are in top form, regardless of your thoughts on their most recent output, as the crowd hang onto every word frontman Alex Turner croons, bellowing them back to him. Following suit, the band jump straight into the fast paced ‘Brianstorm’ from sophomore album; Favourite Worst Nightmare, whipping the crowd into a frenzy of jumping, moshing and drinks being thrown over the crowd.

It is quite clear amongst the members of the audience that they are here for the songs prior to what TBH+C has to offer. Performing newer songs such as ‘One Point Perspective’ and ‘Star Treatment’ sees the crowd energy dissipate somewhat from the arena, with audience members either drifting off into conversation with friends or going for drinks every time Alex Turner sits down to play piano. Aside from this, the rest of the songs went down a treat amongst the crowd, particularly with the songs from 2013’s AM. 

The band doesn’t make much effort to talk to the audience, instead letting their instruments and music speak on their behalf. Frontman Alex Turner glides ethereally around the stage, showing off his best dad dancing whilst occasionally giving a knowing glance to the cameraman filming him for the benefit of those up in the nosebleeds. Not to be overshadowed, drummer Matt Helders thunders through the setlist from behind his drum kit whilst guitarist Jamie Cook’s guitar licks ring out to the very back of the arena.

While the set leans mostly toward AM and TBH+C, the band treats the audience to hits from their earlier days. The ever present ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor’ gets the best reception of the evening, being sung the loudest out of the twenty one songs the band perform. We are also treated to the tour debut of ‘Dancing Shoes’ from Arctic Monkeys phenomenal album, which again is greeted with a thunderous response from the crowd. They close the nights show with a blistering rendition of their hit ‘R U Mine’ which once again sends the crowd wild as they bounce along to the bluesy riffage on offer from the band, rounding off a great performance and leaving me covered in (what I hope) was alcohol. Overall a solid four stars out of five performance.

★★★★

Photo by Christian Turner