Until last night I don’t think I’ve ever seen a beer thrown in the air at the Royal Albert Hall
After all it’s a pretty swanky joint, right?
So to be at a show and see multiple pint glasses full of beer thrown 20 feet in the air in the middle of a crowd in a building considered an architectural masterpiece that was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, you’d forgive me for taking off my glasses, cleaning them, putting them back on and doing a double take.
Who could inspire such actions? The Arctic Monkeys, of course.
But it wasn’t all about the beer. The music wasn’t bad either.
Playing to a sold out crowd that included the likes of Jo Wiley and Matt Smith (of Doctor Who fame) – who made sure no one recognised him under his oversized hood in a building so hot that wearing a hood actually made him more conspicuous – Alex Turner and the gang put on a show that was both intimate and rowdy all at the same time.
Going into the gig I have to admit I was expecting it to be an all-out Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino fest, after all it is their new album and most bands want to promote their latest body of work. However, much to my surprise – and delight – the Sheffield quartet pulled out all of the stops and gave the audience an Arctic Monkeys history lesson they won’t be forgetting in a hurry, even playing “From the Ritz To the Rubble” live for the first time in seven years.
Dimly lit by nothing but a neon sign that simply read: “Monkeys”, the Royal Albert Hall felt like a dungeon, but instead of tortuous actions we were instead treated to a night of eargasmic pleasure.
Whether that was in the form of classics such as “Brianstorm”, “The View From the Afternoon” and “Crying Lightning”, or newer cuts “Four Out of Five”, “Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino” and the live debut of “Star Treatment”, we were being hit from all angles and it felt good, so good in fact that I found myself dancing up and down the aisle, literally. I’m not joking, just ask the bloke next to me whose foot I stood on more than once (sorry about that again, fella).
All for a good cause, one thing last night’s War Child gig proved was just how good a frontman Alex Turner is. Commanding the floor like Steph Curry does for the Golden State Warriors, he had his head on a swivel from the first song to the last. Lapping up the love in the room like a dog getting that last bit of gravy in its bowl, he enjoyed it and you could tell.
And if his seamless switching of guitars, Elvis thrusts and Mick Jagger attitude wasn’t enough, at one point throughout the show a fan thew a t-shirt up on stage and it landed perfectly in the crease of Turner’s arm between his bicep and forearm while he was still playing the guitar. Talk about tekkers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a washing line look that cool before.
As expected, when “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” started a riot ensued. But there was no big lead up to it, Turner instead simply transitioned back to the beginning of the song’s music video by simply stating: “We’re Arctic Monkeys and this is ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’, don’t believe the hype.” I, like so many others in attendance, lost my shit.
So a stunning venue, a great cause, a superb setlist, mosh pits – another thing I’ve never seen at the Royal Albert Hall – some t-shirt skills from Alex Turner and an audience dotted with celebrities made up the ingredients of a magnificent evening that anyone not in attendance will be cursing themselves for years to come.
Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino is out now (read our review here).
Arctic Monkeys live @ the Royal Albert Hall 07/06/18 setlist
“Four Out of Five”
“Do I Wanna Know?”
“Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”
“One Point Perspective”
“Do Me a Favour”
“Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino”
“She Looks Like Fun” (w/ Cameron Avery)
“From the Ritz to the Rubble”
“Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”
“I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”
“The View From the Afternoon”
“R U Mine?”