photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin, words by Andrew Sacher
Arctic Monkeys @ MSG - 2/8/14
As recently as 2011, surrounding the release of Arctic Monkeys' last album, Suck It and See, it didn't seem possible for the band to sell out an arena (at least in America). Despite moving forward artistically, it felt like they were waning in popularity, at risk of remaining remembered only for their early hits, like the bulk of the '00s garage rock/post punk revival breakout bands. But with the deservedly successful AM under their belts, they proved those feelings to be very wrong, taking the stage for a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden Saturday night (2/8), and coming off as anything but a band nostalgic for their breakout period. In fact, they only played two songs from the first album, the massive "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and non-hit "Dancing Shoes," and the former actually felt out of place, rather than a highlight of the show. Arctic Monkeys have fully made the transition into the uniquely dark, diverse rockers they showed us they could be on Humbug, and it was that which actually made this huge arena show one of the best times I've seen them.
They played almost the entirety of AM, kicking off with the sludge hop of "Do I Wanna Know?," like they've been doing this tour, and hitting everything else but the two ballads and "I Want It All." When they did revisit the previous three albums, they mostly stuck to darker cuts ("Pretty Visitors," "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair," "Brianstorm") which blended right in with the AM material. They paid tribute to one of the obvious big influences on their new sound, Black Sabbath, working in a snippet of "War Pigs" before the guitar solo on "Arabella." And in honor of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to the US, they covered "All My Loving" as the first song of their encore (which they've done at other tour stops too). For that cover, and pre-encore song "505," the band were joined by friend/collaborator Miles Kane of The Rascals and also of The Last Shadow Puppets with AM frontman Alex Turner. Not a dull moment the whole set.
Making the show doubly great, it was opened by Deerhunter, who also opened the Boston show on their tour two days earlier. Since openers sometimes get the shaft at MSG, I was worried about how their set would go over, but they still pulled it off. Like at their own shows, the stage was clouded by fog machines and neon lights, and they were pretty loud for an opener at MSG too. Of course, being that their set was only 9 songs, there was no way to get as absorbed in it as a headlining show, but Deerhunter still gave you moments to get lost in, like the krauty jam of "Desire Lines" and the noisy ending to set-closer "Monomania."
Pictures of the show are in this post. They continue, along with the setlists of both bands, videos of Arctic Monkeys (including the "All My Loving" cover and "Arabella-meets-War-Pigs"), and audio of their full set, below...
Arctic Monkeys - "All My Loving" (Beatles Cover) at MSG - 2/8/14
Arctic Monkeys - "Arabella" (w/ snippet of "War Pigs") at MSG - 2/8/14
Arctic Monkeys - "Do I Wanna Know?" at MSG - 2/8/14
Arctic Monkeys at MSG - 2/8/14 (full set audio)
Deerhunter at MSG - 2/8/14 Setlist:
Rainwater Cassette Exchange
Back to the Middle
Arctic Monkeys at MSG - 2/8/14 Setlist:
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 (The Beatles cover)
One for the Road
R U Mine?