Arctic Monkeys Live At The LG Arena - Review


rating: 4.5

Three freezing weeks ago, I was stood on the cusp of the platform, waiting for the train to take me to the LG Arena. I looked like I was in sort-of fancy dress; leather jacket, collar popped like Cantona, hair in an Alex Turner quiff. And then a text arrived, telling me to check Twitter. The Arctic Monkeys had cancelled their gig, later revealed to be due to Alex's laryngitis; largely suspected that the previous night's excessive partying had played a part. For the such a loyal and loving fanbase, it was a weird reaction; not a single "Get well soon" flung across hyperspace, only angry messages of "Why'd you only cancel when you're high?" The atmosphere tonight though is excitable and clearly forgiving; it seems the teenage girls are out in full force, as when the drum clatter of 'Do I Wanna Know?' kicks off proceedings, the arena rings with deafening shrills. The band swagger through the opening track though like they've been playing it for years, and it appears Al's got his croon back. In fact, the Monkeys seem to be better for their rest: 'Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair' and 'Old Yellow Bricks' are strangely slow, but when they ease into the set, 'Fireside' is breathtakingly tender and 'One For The Road' unites the crowd with "Ooh-oohs". They rattle off one hit after the next, interspersed with the 'AM' heavies; 'Arabella' is nearly as well-received as 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor', and confetti rains during the blissful and ballady 'I Wanna Be Yours'. And it's in the ballads that the Arctic Monkeys seem to show how good they are. The Strypes came on earlier tonight to rock the arena with one frenetic indie jam after the next, and it's fair to say they've probably taken some of their cues from likes of 'Dancing Shoes' and 'Teddy Picker'. But when Alex picks up his acoustic, and a disco ball illuminates over the sea of heads, this feels like a band living the hype; 'Cornerstone' is as exquisite as usual, 'No. 1 Party Anthem' sees swathes of hands swaying in the blinkering lights, and 'Mardy Bum' brings the first "You sing the next line" moment. "If I knew you were that good," Al jokes, "We wouldn't have needed to cancel in the first place." A few laughs ricochet, but it's still a touchy subject to those who'd bought train tickets and booked time off work. "I'm deeply sorry," he says. "I swear it won't happen again." The crowd roar, and he freewheels into closer 'R U Mine?' He needn't apologise: tonight they've given us back what they owed, and then some.
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Mark White hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.