Arctic Monkeys’ Pittsburgh performance fired up the Pete


The Arctic Monkeys performed at the Petersen Events Center July 31. (Photo courtesy of Abbie Tesfay)

By Sarah Connor, Culture Editor

Following the release of their sixth studio album, “Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino,” English rockers the Arctic Monkeys are on the road in the States for the first time in four years. Lead singer and guitarist Alex Turner took the stage at the Petersen Events Center on Pitt’s upper campus July 31 with his three fellow musicians — all clad in suits and ready to rock.

Though the success of the new album did not live up to the band’s 2013 powerhouse of an album, “AM,” the Arctic Monkeys still received a packed audience at the Pete — which boasts a maximum capacity of approximately 12,000.

The indie rockers from Sheffield, England, kicked off the Pittsburgh show with their first single off of “Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino” titled “Four Out of Five.” The mellow, sensual song alludes to the hotel the album was based on.

“Take it easy for a little while / Come and stay with us, it’s such an easy flight,” Turner sang, welcoming the audience to a night of some of the most successful indie rock music of the decade.

The band kicked up the speed and pleased crowds with one of their six legendary singles from “AM,” “Arabella.”

Though the Arctic Monkeys avoided some of their more well-known songs from the old days like the 2007 “Fluorescent Adolescent” and 2006’s “When the Sun Goes Down,” the musicians still indulged their fans with an oldie but goodie — “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” from their 2006 debut album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.”

Ten songs into the 18-song set, the band attacked one of their most famous tunes, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” — a truly memorable moment for fans of the Monkeys. The storybook-perfect indie song was executed with excitement and charm, keeping the impressive vocals intact while also amping up the audience to scream the iconic lyrics.

“Now it’s three in the morning / And I’m trying to change your mind / Left you multiple missed calls / And to my message you reply / Why’d you only call me when you’re high?” rang from the stage to the general admission floor to the nosebleed seating of the Pete.

The band kept the crowd enthusiastic by following this song with another popular one from “AM,” an upbeat, jazzy, pop-rock anthem titled “Knee Socks.”

By the 14th song of the set, the band was still going strong with another from their debut album, “The View From the Afternoon.”

Amongst the eclectic audience of high school kids, college students and fans in their mid-twenties and beyond, it was quite noticeable that the older fans knew this tune over the younger ones.

However, the Arctic Monkeys lit a fire in every fan — regardless of age — with their next tune. “Do I Wanna Know?” — the band’s most successful song of all time with nearly 700 million views on YouTube — was recognizable from the very first guitar chord. Every fan in the building was on their feet, singing along.

The iconic words, “crawling back to you,” echoed as they fell from the mouth of Turner and into the souls of the adoring fans.

Following the crowd-pleasing performance of “Do I Wanna Know?,” the band kept things smooth with their last three songs.

“Pittsburgh, we’re going to leave you with one more,” Turner said, leading the band into the last pre-encore song of the set — another critically acclaimed single from “AM,” this one titled “One For the Road.”

The four suit-clad men exited the stage, casuing an explosion of noise from the audience.

“One more song! One more song! One more song!” the fans chanted for minutes.

The band did not fulfill this request easily. They stayed backstage for a few minutes as a stagehand tuned guitars, teasing the fans for more music to come.

Despite the encouraging screams, the four men returned to the stage calmly and resumed their respective positions with instruments.

The encore kicked off with a song from the new album titled “Star Treatment.” The smooth psychedelic pop-rock tune had fans swaying along slowly to Turner’s entrancing vocals and the steady beat accompanied by gentle keyboard tones.

The musicians picked things up with the next song of their three-song encore, “Snap Out of It.” The band paid homage to their Britpop roots with this catchy classic. This was still not the last song the boys played from “AM.”

Turner then introduced the last song, alluding to the title.

“One more question for you before we go, Pittsburgh. Thanks for having us,” he said.

That question: “R U Mine?”

Nothing about this hit single from “AM” is soft, from the gripping electric guitar solos to the hard rock riffs. Amongst all the indie rock tunes of the night, this one invited fans to go crazy. A mosh pit formed at the center of the general admission floor, and a few fans could be spotted crowd surfing — both occurrences that are not commonly seen at Arctic Monkeys concerts.

“I go crazy ‘cause here isn’t where I want to be / and satisfaction feels like just a memory,” fans sang along with Turner.

Though those are well-known lyrics to “R U Mine?,” those words were clearly not how the audience was feeling. In the crowd, in front of one of today’s most popular bands, was exactly where they wanted to be.