By Jordan Yeager
October 25, 2018
After spending 13 years curating a specific brand of sound as a guitar rock group, the Arctic Monkeys dramatically and unexpectedly switched directions with the release of their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, earlier this year. Far from the crooning melodies of “Arabella” and “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” Tranquility divided fans into two camps – people either wrote it off as campy or thought it was the band’s most interesting record to date. Either way, the Pacific Coliseum was filled with upwards of 15,000 fans eager to sing along with frontman Alex Turner.
For a group so practiced in touring, their stage presence was rather minimal – Turner was dressed in a billowy button-up shirt tucked into similarly loose-fitting pants, topped with a suit jacket. Gone was the once-signature slicked back mane of dark brown locks, replaced by a buzzed head of hair that, like his outfit’s entirety, looked almost green in the dim light. He barely addressed the audience, instead plunging headfirst into a catalogue cultivated over more than a decade and refined to include nothing but the best for this latest tour.
The set list ran the gamut from classic to contemporary, opening with Tranquility track “Four Out of Five” along with a hefty handful of others from the newest album alongside classics like “Cornerstone” and “Crying Lightning.” Most noteworthy were select songs from fan favourite album AM. “Knee Socks” and “Do I Wanna Know?,” for example, had the stands pulsating with reverb from the crowd’s sheer energy.
The Arctic Monkeys have been at this for long enough now to know how to dominate the largest of crowds, and their Vancouver show was no exception. Though undoubtedly eager to showcase their newest offerings, the true hits of the evening were the time-tested classics, and even after the encore the audience was left wanting more.