There’s nothing better than finding out that one of your favorite bands is playing a concert in your vicinity. Correction: there’s nothing better than finding out one of your favorite bands is playing a concert in your vicinity AND that the tickets have yet to go on sale, and therefore aren’t sold out. I was ecstatic when I got tickets to see the Arctic Monkeys at Madison Square Garden, having never before seen the English indie rock band.
When it comes to opening acts, I have found I either strike gold or can’t remember their name two seconds after they exit the stage. While Deerhunter had a memorable enough name, their set didn’t make too much of an impression on me. To be fair the lead singer did tell us he had the flu, so it’s possible that while being a valiant effort, it wasn’t quite up to their usual. Regardless, I’m not entirely sure their sound is my thing—there was a lot of echo-y, ethereal mic work involved. I’m interested in checking out their album to see if I would maybe like the recorded tunes a little better.
The Arctic Monkeys took the stage to a healthy amount of screaming, a giant A and M lit up in the background behind them. They opened the show with “Do I Wanna Know,” the first track off their most recent album, AM. The band continued on with a healthy mix from their five studio albums, heavy on selections from AM, lighter on tracks from Suck It and See, presumably since those would have received more play at their last tour. I appreciated that songs played from previous albums were not exclusively singles; they chose to play selections like “Old Yellow Bricks” and “Pretty Visitors” in addition to the expected “Crying Lightning,” “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” and “Fluorescent Adolescent.”
About three quarters of the way into their set, the band slowed things down a bit. Alex Turner asked that everyone put down their cameras and phones for an acoustic version of “Cornerstone,” a request that was mostly heeded, the exception being those who used their flashlight apps in lieu of a lighter. Oh, technology. They closed out the first part of their set with “505” during which they were joined by Miles Kane, Turner’s co-conspirator on side project The Last Shadow Puppets.
The encore opened with a slower version of the Beatles’ “All My Loving,” done in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ coming to New York and performing on the Ed Sullivan Show. I commend their perfect cover choice. They followed up with another two singles from AM, continuing with “One for the Road” and concluding with “R U Mine?”
The Arctic Monkeys put on a stellar show—they kept the attention of an entire stadium full of people and made it feel as if no time had passed during their set. They could have kept me there for five hours while they played through their entire discography and I would have said the same thing. They never let things drag, switching up song types frequently to keep it interesting and moving. Final assessment: I would see them again in a heartbeat, and hope I get the opportunity to do so soon.
“Do I Wanna Know”
“Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”
“Snap Out of It”
“Old Yellow Bricks”
“Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High”
“I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”
“I Wanna Be Yours”
“All My Loving”
“One for the Road”
“R U Mine?”