On Monday 18th November 2013, I went to the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena to see the Arctic Monkeys play live on their AM Tour.
The Arctic Monkeys are the biggest band ever to come from my hometown of Sheffield and, boasting an incredible five number one albums and a host of other accolades in their relatively short careers, they are fast becoming one of the biggest in the world. Formed at High Green in Sheffield in 2002, the group rose to fame after the release of their debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ in 2006 which at the time became the fastest selling debut album in British music history.
‘AM’ is the fifth studio album by the Arctic Monkeys, consisting of Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Nick O’Malley and Matt Helders. Released in September, it has already received numerous critical acclaim and is the four pieces’ most successful album to date having reached number 1 in the charts in several countries.
The group announced the UK leg of their ‘AM’ Tour in June and I knew the chance to see them live in their home town was an opportunity not to be missed. The tickets sold out in a matter of hours and I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the show at Motorpoint Arena, originally due to take place on 2nd November. However, lead singer Alex Turner was diagnosed with laryngitis half way through the tour and so the band was forced to reschedule to the 18th November. But the day was finally here and there was huge excitement around Sheffield as fans, including myself, swarmed to the venue ready to see the Arctic Monkeys live.
Support came from Irish rock and roll band ‘The Strypes’ released their debut album ‘Snapshot’ in September of this year. The four piece, led by Ross Farrelly, played an excellent set that lasted around three quarters of an hour and got the crowd buzzing ahead of the main event.
The room was suddenly plunged in to darkness and a huge roar came from the record-breaking Sheffield crowd as the silhouettes of the four band members appeared on stage. “Have you got colour in your cheeks?” sang Turner, sporting his rockabilly quiff and outfit, as the stage burst in to light again and the group played the opening track of the new album ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. The stage was dominated by huge, lit up letters A and M and the Sheffielders played an amazing 90 minute set which included classics such as ‘Brianstorm’, ‘Pretty Visitors’ and ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ as well as a number of tracks from the new album.
Turner and co. chatted and joked with the crowd throughout, taking a moment to apologise for the postponement and humourously leading the crowd in sing-a-long of ‘Oh Sheffield Is Wonderful’. The highlight of the performance for me was ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’. The song from their debut album is arguably their most famous and one that everyone knows the words to. When the group played the unmistakable opening chords to it every person in the 13,600 strong crowd was instantly jumping around and singing along.
They followed up this energetic song with acoustic versions of ‘Cornerstone’ and ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’. A few songs later was a rendition of AM’s closing track ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, complete with a magnificent ticker tape explosion that filled the air as the lights from the stage glistening off the falling tape, creating a beautiful scene. Following this, the band left the stage for a few moments before returning for the inevitable encore.
‘Snap Out Of It’ was followed by an acoustic ‘Mardy Bum’, another Monkeys classic from their debut album and another highlight of the night as the Motorpoint Arena was filled with the sound of the Sheffield crowd singing Turner’s lyrics. Finally, Turner announced that “it is time for us to leave you now” – news that was greeted with great sadness from the audience. The front man then took a moment to promise his hometown crowd that he belongs to them. “The question is, Sheffield, are you mine?” screamed Turner before the band broke in to the final song of the evening – ‘R U Mine?’.
It was a wonderful finale to an amazing evening. Tonight’s show at the Motorpoint Arena was nothing short of fantastic with both the band and the crowd on top form. Personally, I enjoyed the night hugely and would go as far as to say it was the best concert I have been to so far! The Arctic Monkeys have come along way from their Sheffield roots but they still show great pride in their hometown and based on this performance, they certainly deserve their position as one of the biggest and best bands on the planet.
Setlist: Do I Wanna Know? / Brianstorm / Dancing Shoes / Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair / Teddy Picker / Crying Lightning / Fireside / Reckless Serenade / Old Yellow Bricks / One For The Road / Arabella / Pretty Visitors / I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor / Cornerstone / No. 1 Party Anthem / Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? / Fluorescent Adolescent / Do Me A Favour / I Wanna Be Yours / (encore) Snap Out Of It / Mardy Bum / R U Mine?