Arctic Monkeys: Our Verdict

Reviewed on 15 Sep 2018
  • Event review

    Alex Turner and his Arctic Monkeys have come along way over the last decade or so, swapping bushy barnets and Fred Perry polo shirts for buzz cuts and eccentric maroon trousers in the process. And along with regular fashion changes, their music has also followed a similar path with their sound continuously evolving throughout the the AM boys a huge amount of ammo to fire into an 90 minute set - and their Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino Tour did not disappoint.

    Duos don't get much better than Arctic Monkeys and Saturday nights, so it was no suprise to see a packed house here at Arena Birmingham for their first show in the city since November 2013. 

    Ahead of the show, all the talk was around the setlist. Were they going to only do tracks from Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, were they going to throw in some classics from Favourite Worst Nightmare and Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not and would we see any cult nuggets from the likes of Humbug...lets just say they nailed it.

    Just before 9:00PM, the house lights dimmed and the stage lights beamed as Alex Turner appeared in front of 15,000 crazy fans....and their opening song? Star Treatment, one of the stand-out tracks from their latest releaseFor me, it was the perfect way to ease into the show - the psychedelic tones, the pitch perfect vocals and the classy production set the standard for the rest of the night!

    I can't emphasis enough how difficult it must be for a band with a back catalogue as strong as Arctic Monkeys to create a setlist which'll please each and every fan - but I can honestly say that they got it so right. It truly proves just how good of a band they are, I mean they didn't perform classics such as Mardy Bum, Fluorescent Adolescent, When The Sun Goes Down and Fake Tales of San Francisco, yet they didn't feel missed, there were no gaping holes in the performance, it just felt like they got the balance so right.

    After opening with Star Treatment, Turner and the gang meandered their way through Brianstorm, which had both the standing floor and those seated going absolutely mental, Snap Out Of It, Crying Lightning, The View From The Afternoon and then 505. 

    They kept switching the pace up, hitting us with beasty tracks which had everyone bouncing, to a cool, calm couple of minutes which allowed Birmingham to truly take in Turner's talent. He's the ultimate frontman. Alex Turner keeps transforming the rock industry, using his influencers to influence the sound of tomorrow - and when it comes to his live ability, well, there's not many who can rival what he does. He's a great. He's just got this aura that sucks you in. You couldn't help but get the feeling that in that very moment, he was creating something truly iconic.

    We were treated to 18 tracks before the encore with the likes of Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino Play, Cornerstone, Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?, One Point Perspective, Do Me a Favour and Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair following 505

    Obviously, we were doing a bit of research on the potential setlist prior to the show, but they still added a couple of sneaky additions to keep us on our toes and boy, the reaction when we heard that opening riff of From the Ritz to the Rubble...oh man, it went OFF!!! There's no doubt that you Brummies were loving it!

    After heading off stage for 2 or 3 minutes, they reappeared for a three song encore consisting of Arabella, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor and R U Mine? And that's when our arena completely transformed into a giant sing-a-long with almost every person in attendance belting back the lyrics to Alex Turner. It was incredible. 


    Did we get soaked in a mixture of beer and sweat? Yes. Did we witness one of the greatest rock & roll bands of our generation? Yes. Is it a show we'll never forget? Absolutely yes!

    Four Out of Five? Nah. Try Five Out of Five. We just hope we don't have to wait another five years for their return, but if we do, we know it'll worth the wait. 

    Reviewed by   Todd Newton