“Anticipation has a habit to set you up”. Those are the first words from the Arctic Monkeys’ 2006 debut ‘Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not.’ Only after the build up to this concert do those lyrics seem so significant. When Arctic Monkeys set out on the UK leg of their ‘AM’ tour they seemed unstoppable and of all the possible things to prove they weren’t, it was laryngitis that did it. It was only a few weeks after the cancellation of three shows (Birmingham, Glasgow and Sheffield) that Arctic Monkeys were back on the road; and on Monday 18th November they returned home to Sheffield for their eagerly anticipated homecoming concert.
The lights go down and the walk on music plays, greeted by rapturous cheers from the crowd. The band walk out and Alex Turner strolls up to the microphone as nonchalant as ever. He eases out the opening line as Jamie Cook’s guitar riff fills the Motorpoint Arena. “Have you got colour in your cheeks?” Turner wonders as the phones of crowd members illuminate the arena. This along with most of latest album ‘AM’ gets an outing with only ‘Knee Socks’, ‘Mad Sounds’ and ‘I Want It All’ failing to be played. All of these new songs are greeted with euphoria most notably ‘Why’d you only call me when you’re high?’ and latest single ‘One For The Road;’the latter doing well to show off the falsetto tones of Matt Helders and bassist Nick O’Malley. The album’s closing track ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ that brought an end to the main portion of the set with confetti raining down on the audience as Turner crooned the final lyrics taken from the John Cooper Clarke poem of the same name. The band returned to the stage a few minutes later with ‘Snap Out Of It’ and an incredible semi-acoustic version of ‘Mardy Bum’. Turner built up the tension preceding final track ‘R U Mine?’ by telling the crowd “I’m yours, but the question is…”. It’s here that the postponement of the original date is mentioned for the first time, with Turner simply saying “sorry about the other week by the way”. He then teases the crowd once more. “The question is…” he says again, and shouts “Are you mine baby? Goodnight!” before launching into the song and sending the crowd into absolute mayhem.
There were quite a few surprising omissions from the set list, including fan favourites such as ‘Fake Tales Of San Francisco’ and ‘A Certain Romance’. We did hear ‘Crying Lightning’, ‘Cornerstone’ and ‘Pretty Visitors’ from 2009’s ‘Humbug’ which upon its released began to signal the demise of Turner’s strong Yorkshire accent. Now his voice for all of the songs has taken a stateside twang, making ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ feel like a different song entirely. Alongside the new accent we see that Alex Turner has really started to evolve as a frontman, now oozing confidence and rocking sparkly gold suits (disappointingly not making an appearance at Sheffield). This new persona is shown off during the build-up to ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’, with Turner introducing the early single with his now signature “This one’s for the girls. LADIEEEEEEES”.
The omissions didn’t do a lot to dent the quality of the set. The band still came out with hit after hit, proving why they are one of the biggest bands in Britain – if not the world right now. In a 2013 involving headlining Glastonbury for the second time, playing a tour that took only a few hours to sell out entirely, releasing a number one album and receiving a Mercury Prize nomination to boot. It is clear that 2013 is the Arctic Monkeys’ year - do they deserve it? Yes. That night in Sheffield proved it. Anticipation may have a habit to set you up, but as we found out it isn’t always for disappointment.