Concert Review: Arctic Monkeys @ The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto, Ontario

It was the first day of the summer of 2014 and to help celebrate, the Arctic Monkeys arrived from across the pond. Actually they arrived fresh from a gig in Dover, Delaware, USA. Find that on a map! The British band was in Toronto for the second time in less than 10 months (lucky us!) to rock and roll, brick by brick.

They’ve now graduated from the smaller venues of yore to the much larger (and sold-out) Molson Canadian AMphitheatre down by Lake Ontario (Jeffersons’ TV theme plays). Let’s have 2 seconds of silence to lament the passing of another cool band to the realm of arena rock in Canada. The quality of music probably won’t change, I’ll just have a harder time getting super-close to the stage, sniff sniff. Now how’s Alex supposed to see me wave?

Pete and I have slightly different tastes in music, so an album has to be pretty good to get us both to agree that it’s likely the best we heard in 2013. AM by the Arctic Monkeys is that good. I was hoping to hear many of the new songs, plus some old favourites as I walked by the 100 people lined up at the merch booth and hunkered down on the packed (and I mean packed) AMphitheatre GA lawn. Side-note: walking to the show, we got to see what happens when one cab runs into another one below us on Lake Shore Blvd.

The band opened with Do I Wanna Know?. During the show they performed in front of a lit-up version of the wavy AM album artwork. The ‘AM’ in the middle would switch from white to red to blue throughout the evening.

The crowd seemed really into the show. The loudest they got was singing during Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? (if I was a rockstar, the only thing I wouldn’t do high is wake up) and then again during the band’s ode to middle age, Fluorescent Adolescent. The lighters came out in full-force during the slower No. 1 Party Anthem and I Wanna Be Yours. They were also coming out for other reasons throughout the show as well.

It was a younger crowd overall, with the average age probably being in the early 20’s, and there were a lot of ladies in attendance. It helps the band aren’t ugly, and the new album is very what I would call “female-friendly”. One phenomenon happening last night that happened back at the Kool Haus in September was the large number of female fans belting out the falsetto background vocal parts (especially on the new songs). So once again I was treated to high-pitched shouts of “snap out of it!” all around me during that song.

Lead singer Alex Turner did his best to interact with the 16,000ish people in the audience. Alluding to the band’s September Toronto stop, Turner asked “How are ya Toronto? Did you miss me?”. Before Library Pictures he invited everyone from outside Ontario to “C’mon in, the water’s lovely” while prior to the evening’s final song, his request to “let me look at these beautiful people” saw the house lights come on.

The main reason Arctic Monkeys are so popular is they have all types of good songs in all types of styles. There’s the hard rock of the first 2 albums and new songs like Arabella (they even played a little bit of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs before the song’s big solo), and R U MINE? They have pop songs like Fireside and Suck It And See, hip-hop beats in One For The Road and Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?, a wedding slow-dance vibe in No. 1 Party Anthem, and they even bust out some R&Bish “late-night bangin’ music” with I Wanna Be Yours. It was pretty evident that the fans seemed way more into the new songs than the older ones, which I don’t know if I’ve even seen before at a show.

I loved the long setlist, lots of awesome Arctic Monkeys songs for everyone to enjoy. I was back on the lawns, so the sound wasn’t super great, or even that loud really but the crowd was excellent. People were dancing, singing, making out. Good times!

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PHM Rating for Arctic Monkeys: 7.0 out of 10

Setlist for Arctic Monkeys at The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto – June 21, 2014
1 – Do I Wanna Know?
2 – Snap Out Of It
3 – Arabella (with a bit of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs)
4 – Brianstorm
5 – Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
6 – Dancing Shoes
7 – Library Pictures
8 – Crying Lightning
9 – Knee Socks
10 – My Propeller
11 – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
12 – Fireside
13 – No. 1 Party Anthem
14 – Suck It And See
15 – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
16 – Fluorescent Adolescent
17 – 505

18 – One For The Road
19 – I Wanna Be Yours
20 – R U Mine?

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