If Arctic Monkeys received any criticism for their new album, the crowd didn’t show it. It was the first night of their Hollywood Bowl residency when the band, dressed in neutral colors and half-buttoned dress shirts, strolled onstage drenched in blood-red lights to start ‘Four Out Of Five’. From the thunderous cheers, you’d think it was an old classic. Predictably calm, cool, and collected, Alex Turner belted out the lyrics with ease, emoting every letter in his words. ‘Come and stay with us,’ he crooned, and the audience did just that.
Mania ensued as they transitioned into ‘Brianstorm’, a crowd favorite that incited thrashing and head-banging across the amphitheater. Matt Helders, the band’s drum virtuoso, seamlessly performed the track’s thunderous drumming to perfection. ‘Snap Out of It’ and ‘Crying Lightning’ also kept the energy high, but it was ‘Library Pictures’, a less-expected addition to the setlist, that inspired nostalgic exclamations from fans.
‘One Point Perspective’ and ‘Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino’ elicited calmer enthusiasm from the audience, but Turner was mesmerizing nonetheless, exuding equal parts flair and charm. His white electric guitar glimmered as it caught the light flares of red, purple, and green. The band played their new tracks just as skillfully as they did their oldest songs. The audience submitted to the otherworldly experience and revelled in lethargic bliss.
While ‘One for the Road’ called for Turner’s old brown Fender Jazzmaster and minimal stage movement, ‘Cornerstone’ saw Turner shed his guitar to playfully prance around the stage and challenge the cameraman. “You can call me anything you bloody want,” he sang unapologetically.
The audience’s energy caught a second wind for the painfully beautiful ‘505’. Even the half-intoxicated LA socialites, clumsily swaying against each other, oozed childish love. At the moment, it was impossible to imagine Alex Turner existing beyond his piano, which was cast in a honey-colored spotlight. The focus shifted back to guitars for ‘Knee Socks’ and ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’, where the band delivered swelling riffs and solos that left the audience in awe.
‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ was the unexpected highlight of the set. Turner traded his electric guitar for an acoustic model and sang earnestly into his mic, serenading every single one of the 17,500 people in attendance. The audience waved their phone lights back and forth, illuminating the darkness of the Hollywood Bowl. People smiled and turned to look at the fabricated galaxy’s edge, basking in the knowledge that they were in the most magical place in Los Angeles that night.
The band turned to one of their first hits to close their set. “Ladies!” Turner declared. Everyone who had been dubious about shedding their cool disposition just couldn’t help but let their movements run rampant to the sound of ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’.
The band left the stage and people were left in a riot, yelling for an encore. The Arctic Monkeys returned to the stage just as fast as they left it and gave three more stellar performances of ‘Star Treatment’, ‘Arabella’, and ‘R U Mine?’ The audience went home with elevated heartbeats and dopey grins on their faces. The night confirmed what we already knew, the Arctic Monkeys are evergreen. Anyone who didn’t believe the band could go any higher would be surprised to find they’ve reached the moon.