(Photo Credit: Zachary Michael)
Concert Review - Arctic Monkeys - Revention Music Center, Houston, TX: 10/12/18
I am an outsider to the Arctic Monkeys phenomenon. I know a lot of their music, and take no issue, but have never really sought out the creatures for myself. In 2018, as a gift for my wife (for our anniversary) I decided to meet the creatures face to face. As Hunter S. Thompson would say, "Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride" and what a ride it was.
Houston, Revention Music Center, 6:40pm (approx.). My wife and I arrive from an ill-timed IKEA trip to discover a gigantic line awaiting entrance to the show. "Five blocks worth" we're told by a security guard who took his job very seriously. He informed us "You're welcome to wait here if you don't want to walk the distance". It seemed an appealing proposition; we bit. However, it seemed the line kept growing and as we waited for it to end, it kept starting. I saw almost every human face that entered the show. The breakdown was 70% teenage goth girls, 20% middle-aged women and men, and 10% hipsters. I knew we were going to have our work cut out for us at this rate.
After an eternity of waiting for the line to end (and a flare of my anxiety worrying that we would not secure a poster for our famed collection), I finally said "We must head to the back of the line, this is like a waterfall, it's never going to end". So we began to walk, and walk, and walk. Nearly three blocks before we reached the end of the line where people were still actively queuing up from getting out of their Ubers (or their parents dropping them off). We got into line and,surprisingly, it went much faster than we anticipated. We entered the show, secured a holographic poster that we paid too much for (worth it) and finally got into the general admission area. Security was tight on this one, and for good reason. The venue had to be chock full to capacity with the aforementioned population eagerly awaiting their Arctic Monkeys.
Mini Mansions: Mini Mansions played first and proved to be more than a capable opener. This is a band that is going places. They were able to get the crowd loudly into their set. They were aided in this effort by Arctic Monkey's front man Alex Turner joining them for a tune. They ended with a fantastic number that had the crowd bursting at the seams (perhaps in anticipation for their beloved Arctic Monkeys, but this felt like genuine love for the music).
Arctic Monkeys: I am a stranger in a strange land...I have been to many concerts in my life, but never before have I witnessed a more eclectic mix of fans, particularly in how they show their love for their band. In one song there were fans dancing as if they were at a high-end dance club, some twerking, some convulsing to the rhythm, and some headbanging and attempting to mosh. I stood in disbelief at the decadence taking place before me and with each song that the Arctic Monkeys played, (and the more beer and pot they smoked) the crazier it got.
You may be asking yourself, "This jackass is writing a review about a concert and has not said one damn thing about how the act played, what is he doing?". You're right, in short the Arctic Monkeys were great, they played all of their hits and some diamonds in the rough that had the fans actively turning into reptiles. I witnessed a 50-year-old woman in a cat sweater (the aforementioned convulse dancer) let out a primal scream at the top of her lungs at one point.
Anyway, back to the Monkeys, they played 21 songs (including the three song encore) that included every song you'd expect. But what amazed me most about the set was Alex Turner. He is a next level showman, probably up there with Brandon Flowers. He has also achieved such a status with his fans that if he even lifted his hands, the crowd would roar as if Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan came out for a duet of "Voodoo Child". Needless to say, it was batshit crazy.
Regardless, the band performed magnificently with all the pomp and circumstance for the occasion; they were brilliant. Their drummer is amazing, Alex Turner was perfect on vocals and was constantly changing instruments, and the group was just so polished.
What I still can't get out of my head is the unique environment I was in at that show. It was like being in a church that you had never been to (and being an Atheist that's really saying something). There were rituals from Alex, and the fans knew, you could tell this was not their first rodeo. It seems The Arctic Monkeys have achieved both a cult-like fan group and mainstream success simultaneously; this is no easy endeavor.
Did I leave the show any less of an outsider than what I had entered? No, I think not, but I am happy for the experience and while I did witness this as an outsider, it was a damn good show, even if I observed it with reptilians (and my wife).
Four Out of Five
Snap Out of It
Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino
Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?
You're So Dark
Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
One Point Perspective
Do I Wanna Know?
R U Mine?