It would be fair to say that New Zealand was well overdue for a visit from Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys. It was way back in 2009 for the Big Day Out tour that Auckland last got a chance to see Britain’s all conquering four-piece. After the release of last year’s critically and commercially successful AM, anticipation for their arrival was understandably high.

The vast setting of Auckland’s Vector Arena would prove just how far the band have come on the live stage since their last visit. Maintaining an energetic atmosphere and sounding good in arenas can be particularly difficult. However, after looking down at the heaving mosh pit and packed grand stands, it was clear the crowd would play their part.

Instead of going for a local support, Western Australian psych-rockers Pond opened up the night. Playing tunes from their latest record Hobo Rocket, Nick Allbrook and his troupe impressed the already packed crowd eager to see the main event.

Waltzing onto the stage with comb-backed hair and a metallic blue jacket, frontman Alex Turner looked every bit the part of stadium rock star. From the surprising opener ‘One For The Road’, it was immediately clear that the band felt comfortable in the expanded setting.

Aided by extra musicians on keys, guitar, and percussion, the irresistibly dancey ‘Snap Out Of It’ proved the new album was just as loved by its fans as the critics. ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ was also an early highlight as the front of the crowd pushed and pulled for better position.

While the whole band radiated confidence, it was the swagger of Turner that commanded the most attention. Hanging out with Queens Of The Stone Age king of cool Josh Homme has obviously rubbed off on the singer.  It showed most when finishing off the first run of tracks from AM with the 70s rock inspired ‘Arabella’. Just in case some of the inspiration for the song wasn’t clear, the band paid homage with a breakdown section cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’.

The crowd answered Turner with every word from the opening tracks. The set was tight, energetic, and explosive, backed by towering AM initials in lights. The Arctic Monkeys are at home on the arena stage and the older material sounded just as good.

While the set was dominated by new material, every record was put on show. They just about blew the roof off the place as they launched through ‘Brianstorm’, ‘Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’, ‘Dancing Shoes’, and ‘Library Pictures’.

Although Turner is the clear favourite amongst the crowd, Matt Helders on drums and Nick O’Malley on bass provide enourmous support. Helders in particular works his arse off, providing perfect backing vocals for much of the new material and staying solid as a rock. He was given extra appreciation as Turner prompted the crowd following his impressive display during, ‘Pretty Visitors’.

O’Malley too showed off his vocal prowess, taking on the guest vocal role of Josh Homme in ‘Knee Socks’, catching everyone by surprise as he soared above the falsetto of Turner and Helders. The only lull in proceedings came when the acoustic guitar came out for ‘Cornerstone’ from the 2009 record Humbug.

Despite previously favouring against doing encores, the endless cajoling from the crowd brought the quartet back out. The disco-lit romance of ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ was followed by the impressive ‘505’ to close out the night.

Endless touring and festival performances have transformed the Arctic Monkeys from a once slightly awkward four-piece into a formidable arena rock band. They commanded the attention of every soul in there, proving just how good they really are.


One For The Road

Snap Out Of It

Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?



Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair

Dancing Shoes

Library Pictures

Crying Lightning


Knee Socks

Pretty Visitors

I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor

She’s Thunderstorms


Fluorescent Adolescent

Do I Wanna Know?


R U Mine?

I Wanna Be Yours


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