Live Review: Arctic Monkeys, Central Park Summerstage, NYC 9/5


review by Sheryl Witlen
photos by Dan Muller

It has been said that humans are most creative in their younger years. It is not such a hard theory to believe, as it is when we are most innocent and open to ideas and experiences that the world has to offer. Yet in the music industry, it is always comes as a bit of a shock when young artists produce lyrics that seem mature beyond their years of existence. It is more of a feat to pull off those dazzling songs live, in front of thousands of adoring fans, city after city, night after night — especially when one of those nights happens to be in New York’s Central Park. None of that matters when it comes to these boys. The Arctic Monkeys have it all. Their first album could not have received widespread critical acclaim and even more difficult of a feat to accomplish and maintain- public adoration. “Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not” could have faded into the history books as the Arctic Monkeys’ highest accomplishment. Yet this year saw their sophomore release, Favorite Worst Nightmare and my chance to catch their live show two times as they passed through my lucky city.

In between the months of May and September, I fell even more in love with their latest album, which I had not deemed possible after their earlier performance at Hammerstein Ballroom. The live show I experienced this time was not that of a band young to overall touring experience and the pressures that come with that responsibility, but a studied accomplishment of what is one of the best rock and roll acts available today. It is not just that they deliver their songs with unbelievable precision and affection, but by experiencing their live show you realize just how full of a sound these four musicians create. They are so young, yet they fill up any space they occupy with energy and a polished show that only comes with maturity.

check out the full set here

This tour celebrates their growth as musicians who have come grown into their own. Long gone are the nervous jittery consultations in between songs or the sharp forced comments to the audience. Alex seemed seasoned and happy to be back in the city, chatting with fans he recognized from a previous show, calling out people all the way in the back on the bleachers and asking for participation in the form of clapping and signing. Matt Helders’ drumming accelerated the show into a raucous celebration amongst the true British fans seeking that extra bit of encouragement to hug their mates and sing the songs at the top of their lungs. Fans had turned out early, at 4 pm, to line up for the show, and the boys more than returned the affection by playing hit after hit with a steady, building procession that ended with the New York audience begging for more. The lack of an encore did not mean an exception to a hit song that the crowd wished to hear. The set list contained stellar selections: “Mardy Bum,” “Certain Kind of Romance,” “Fake Tales of San Francisco,” “Dancing Shoes,” “Florescent Adolescent,” “This House is a Circus,” and the moody melody “Do Me A Favor.” From an outsider’s perspective, it would have been hard to judge if you were watching a hometown band or not, for everyone present was singing along to every line. Whenever I turn out to see this latest UK import, I am always reminded that Arctic Monkeys are both adored and envied for one very important reason: their fierce talent keeps raising the standard of a good live show to a higher level.

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 11, 2007 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m incredibly jealous that Dan got to shoot this!! Iincredible shots!

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