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LIVE: Arctic Monkeys impress at Swansea Stadium

Monday night saw Sheffield's finest Arctic Monkeys return to Wales since their AM tour in Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena back in 2013, joined by Liverpool’s breathtaking The Mysterines and Swedish outfit The Hives who embraced the crowd as their own, bringing with them a glorious performance of energy and incredible showmanship, with an eccentric flair.

It had been almost a decade since they last stepped foot on Welsh soil but Arctic Monkeys returned to the land of song with an impressive performance and a setlist that took us back in time. As the fab four took to stage, and Helders’ opening beats of Brianstorm rang across the stadium, fans knew they’d be in for a treat. Following what would be a hard to beat opener, were a string of fan favourites such as Snap Out Of It, the ever-atmospheric Crying Lightning, and of course, the outright anthem that is Teddy Picker.

They adorned the stage with a new sense of sophistication and class that we hadn’t seen the last time they played in Wales. Turner’s poetic flair, and the outstandingly developed musicianship between the four, had been crafted perfectly over the last two decades, and we got to witness that on Monday night. Stadium shows often showcase the glitz, the glam, and the faff of show business; dramatic set designs often overtaking the performances itself - Arctic Monkeys didn’t need this, instead they graced a retro-esque stage made for a 70s James Bond movie in true gentlemanly fashion. Though the disco ball adorned with ‘Monkeys’ did make an appearance and provided that little bit of glitter we needed.

The tempo remained in constant flux - from The View In The Afternoon that perfectly captured the youthful exuberance and rebellious spirit that the band became known for, to the sophisticated rumbles and romantic elegance from There Better Be A Mirrorball - yet the band skillfully executed seamless and captivating transitions. Turner's croons kept the crowd on their feet as he strided across the stage with an innate sense of belonging, as if he were destined to be there.

During the performance, Turner remained mostly silent, choosing to communicate sparingly. He briefly acknowledged the crowd's shouts and engaged in singalongs, punctuating the moments with a heartfelt "beautiful" and the occasional call to "Swansea." His understated interactions added an intriguing layer of mystery, allowing the music to speak for itself. But this was nothing new to fans who had seen them live before.

And as quick as it started, we were now at the end. Sculptures of Anything Goes, taken from their latest album The Car, signalled the encore; a brooding spectacle of seductive basslines and synths, backed by an impressive orchestral composition, which illuminated the entire stadium. Next was a classic; the crowd had waited long enough, and it was worth it. What followed was a crowd of 20,000 punters all screaming back in unison a song of a generation; I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor had tiny pits opening, arms raised to the sky, and people lifted on shoulders. Then the starting riff that captivated households worldwide signalled the finale in Swansea that evening. They ended with a blistering performance of R U Mine?; a song that begged for a singalong. It was a magical moment that people won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

The mood had been lifted in Swansea that evening, a gig like that had been needed, and now there's a lingering thought of hope that it won’t be another decade until Arctic Monkeys grace a Welsh stage again.

Words: Tate Powell

Image: Swansea City AFC


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