The Arctic Monkeys received a hero’s welcome-back last night at Auckland’s Vector Arena, with enthusiastic fans wildly cheering and applauding at both the beginning and end of EVERY single song. I guess everyone felt the same way as me… I just wanted to let them know that we didn’t want to have to wait another five years until we got to see them live again.
Sauntering on-stage to jazz sounds, the four-piece - accompanied by two additional multi-instrumentalists - kicked off the first show of their Australasian 'AM Tour' with 'One For The Road', which showcased the band’s unique three-way harmonies between Alex Turner, Nick O'Malley and Matt Helders. The latter of which, demonstrating that his mighty falsetto skills are incomparable.
Easing into foot-stomper, 'Snap Out Of It', the young fans on the barrier at the front of the crowd enjoyed a blue light disco of sorts, before every soul in attendance rejoiced in a sing-along to 'Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?'.
Addressing the crowd for the first time last night, frontman Turner, segued into another 'AM' track with the suave introduction: "How you doing, Auckland? The Arctic Monkeys are back in town to see you… and I wanna tell you about a girl called Arabella." Going guitar-less for most of 'Arabella', he swaggered around the stage in his metallic blue blazer boasting Elvis arm swings aplenty - there’s a lot of truth in the age-old saying: Alex Turner’s hips don’t lie - before picking up his guitar again for a little bit of a Black Sabbath 'War Pigs' shred-off.
Rolling through heavy-hitters, 'Brianstorm', 'Don’t Sit Down 'Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair', 'Dancing Shoes' and 'Library Pictures', the band only paused for breath when Turner gave thanks to the audience or when Turner stopped to comb back his hair. Yes, nearly 12,000 people wolf-whistled and hurrahed, whilst waiting for Alex Turner to slick back his quiff after injurious bouts of head-banging - and this happened at least three times during the set.
A special mention should also be given to Turner’s attempts at interpretive-dancing his lyrics during the verses of 'Don’t Sit Down 'Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair' - think, "Kung fu fighting on your roller skates / Do the macarena in the devil's lair", with demonstrations of kung fu, rollerskating and the macarena all presented, much to the delight of the crowd.
After 'Crying Lightning', the Arctic Monkeys returned from their back-catalogue and into the present with more songs from 'AM'. In his cruise ship director voice, Turner asked: "How you feel about the new album down here? <insert responding screams here> This one’s called 'Fireside', baby." You don’t have a heart, if you’re at all immune to all that knock-your-socks-off kinda charm.
Following 'Knee Socks' and 'Pretty Visitors' - which featured an impressive light-show - Jamie Cook guitar-duelled with Turner throughout the fan-favourite, 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'. Predictably, the band’s debut single was introduced as "something for the girls now", which Turner continued to re-use leading into both of the next two songs, 'She’s Thunderstorms' and 'Cornerstone'. Realising that he was phoning in his banter, Turner’s cool exterior broke momentarily, as some embarrassed apologetic noises escaped. However, it was brief and that was his only moment of weakness.
The classic 'Fluorescent Adolescent’, was of course, a fun romp through memory lane - the day that the Arctic Monkeys stop playing it live, will be a very sad day indeed - but it was 'Do I Wanna Know?' that fans of 'AM' had been waiting for, with these newer fans also rewarded for their patience with 'R U Mine?' and 'I Wanna Be Yours' during the three-song encore.
As is their tradition, the band closed the show with '505' - sadly missing the rare live bonus of Miles Kane, but still a fitting closer to a rather nostalgic night… a night that that definitely didn’t disappoint.
"We’re the Arctic Monkeys from High Green. See you next time." Next time, you say? Please return sooner, rather than later, okay?!
One For The Road
Snap Out Of It
Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High
Don’t Sit Down 'Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
Do I Wanna Know?
R U Mine?
I Wanna Be Yours
P.S. Have you entered our competition to win an 'AM' t-shirt yet? Click HERE for more details!