REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, January 4th, 2023

Off the back of another critically acclaimed album, Arctic Monkeys have returned to Melbourne to show us the new and to celebrate the hits. 

Despite the intense heat* of the summer* day in Melbourne, fans rallied across Sidney Myer Music Bowl to see the English rockers in their sold out show. Immediately, you can identify the significant cultural impact the band has had on Melbourne by the plethora of memorabilia from their Aussie shows across the years. 

Like many international artists, Arctic Monkeys haven’t had the chance to grace Australian stages since 2019. But if we’re willing to think glass half full –  the consequential anticipation and excitement for the band was overpowering. 

Love Live Music?

Get the latest Live Music news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

Arctic Monkeys 4/1/23
CREDIT: Valerie Lee

Unlike many previous experiences at Sidney Myer, the Monkeys decided not to use the immense LCD screens that are available and instead go a different route. They hung a simple curtain, a generous selection of lights and a massive disco ball. 

If at first this seems puzzling, once Alex Turner strutted onto the stage (emphasis on the strutted) everything fell into place. There was a theme for the evening. And that theme was: cool. Whether you were wearing a leather jacket or a suit, the uniform was black, white and slick.

It would be remiss of me to not also give a special shout out to Turner’s sunglasses who became a band member in themselves. 

Check out ‘Brainstorm’

Naturally, as soon as the lights went down everyone lost their minds. The man in front of me was so excited he didn’t stop moving for the entire show and I thought at any moment he might spontaneously do a backflip. 

Following a subtle but effective icebreaker in the form of ‘Sculptures of Anything Goes’ from their most recent album, the rockers launched into one of their classic hits ‘Brainstorm’ that shot them into stardom. The lowkey curtain was suddenly blasted with light and we were transported into an entirely different theatre that reminded you just how cool the Arctic Monkeys are. 

Check out ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High’

“My question is Melbourne… Why’d you only call me when you’re high?” – cue the most intense screaming I’ve ever heard (so far). 

Needing a break from the adrenaline, the band takes it down a notch for some more personal tunes like 2022’s ‘The Car’ and ‘Cornerstone.’ The roaring and epic numbers are substituted for a more simplistic but equally mesmerising sound. 

Then something happened. Something that shook me to the core. Turner took off his sunglasses. 

Check out ‘Do I Wanna Know?’

After the audience had caught their breath and Turner had returned his sunglasses to their former position, the band gave them what they’ve been waiting for. As soon as the iconic guitar riff of ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ begins, plastic cups are flying through the air and people are getting on each other’s shoulders. 

The following numbers hit the perfect balance between classic hits and newer hits, that results in a dynamic and refreshing evening for the Arctic Monkeys; while also keeping the earlier fans happy and satisfied. 

Check out ‘R U Mine?’

One thing that had been hanging over my head the entire evening (literally), was this massive disco ball that wasn’t being used. But good things come to those who wait. Fittingly, the first encore piece was ‘There’d Better Be A Mirror Ball’ that concluded on the ball being flung into use and lighting up the entire theatre. 

This decision meant the show finished in party mode, as the audience and band sang out the lyrics to everyone’s favourite ‘R U Mine?’ and concluded on ‘505’. 

Check out ‘505’

Over the Arctic Monkeys’ impressive career they have developed an iconic sound that even the most amateur of music listeners could identify. With that in mind, there is no reason a person would despise last night’s show. However, as I highlighted earlier, the evening chose to rightly focus on the musical talent on the stage rather than the larger spectacle, which may deter the uninitiated. 

After performing at multiple festivals in Australia since Christmas, the Arctic Monkeys have one more sold out show at Sidney Myer tonight before heading across to Adelaide tomorrow to headline at the Heaps Good Festival. 

Following that, the rockers will be jumping across all the states to make sure no one misses out on seeing Turner’s sunglasses.

**These descriptions of Melbourne weather may not be accurate of actual conditions.

Arctic Monkeys @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia

4/01/23 Setlist

‘Sculptures of Anything Goes’


‘Snap Out of It’

‘Crying Lightning’

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

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

‘Four Out of Five’


‘Potion Approaching’

‘The Car’


‘Do I Wanna Know?’

‘One Point Perspective’

‘Teddy Picker’

‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’

‘Pretty Visitors’

‘Do Me a Favour’

‘Body Paint’

‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’

‘R U Mine?’


Australian Tour

Remaining Dates

Thursday, January 5th

Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, VIC

Friday, January 6th

Heaps Good Festival, Adelaide, SA

Saturday, January 7th

Fremantle Park, Perth, WA

Wednesday, January 11th

Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD

Saturday, January 14th

The Domain, Sydney, NSW


Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine