Absolutely frenzied...fraught with kinetic energy. sweaty, dancing madness. First Ave. was filled with an unprecedented *en-er-gy* (mad-fer-it-ness? yes.) last night as the Arctic Monkeys focused their brilliant powers to intoxicate the sold-out crowd of music freaks of all ages. There were mesmerized 12-year-olds mouthing along with Turner-lyrics as well as grey-haired old men headbanging to Matt Helder's (the birthday boy) beat. They knew all the words. They knew all the riffs-- "my people" ...here in MPLS...it was remarkably satisfying to see other crazies around me as I looked around me through the sea of smiling faces.
"One of the best shows I've ever been to," that's what Fitzy had to say when the lights had come on and everyone was catching their breath.
It was. I totally agree. To be hit with an overwhelming sense of euphoria--the entire show...it really was one of the top, top shows I have ever seen—by a long shot. Of course that has everything to do with the fact that every song (but one) they played I know every syllable to…..every beat….every break…..every guitar lick. and I can’t get enough of those brilliant lyrics on the recordings…
So, to be able to see it all live on stage, a few feet away from me as I moved spastically, crazily----like a rag doll (Jim once wrote that his body became like a dancing puppet/rag doll at a Bruce show…I totally understand now). My body couldn’t be contained, my smile couldn’t be wiped off, either.
Alex looked a bit tired (did he have a bit of cold, Mary? I dunno), a bit underwhelmed by it all at times—but still was putting his everything into his singing and playing. the consummate observer, commented on seeing "Mr. Box" (a First Ave dude, selling beer from a Bud Light box) go "back and forth" ..."thought it was just me imagination." One of the *only* other things he said, was a comment on spaz cases like *me*: "Relax, relax! Roll a spliff." Fucking loved it.
The sound was spectacular—Alex’s vocals were righteously high in the mix, Matt’s drums were manic and propulsive and animalistic. And we got a right good look at Jamie! We were right in front of him and he was so fun to watch. I figured it all out—sorta. He’s the one that came up with their band’s (questionable?) name. And he is one. HE’S a fucking Arctic Monkey, all right. Ruddy-cheeked and plump-lipped, his cute ears poked out from his shaggy-helmet-head of hair. The way his arms and hands seemed David-like-too-big for his body worked it, too. His long fingers strangled the guitar's neck and it looked slightly absurd--but totally fitting. His focus and precision was matched only by his wanna-be-punk-rock-so-bad guitar delivery. He fucking wailed. And he worked it out *hard*
The stand-out presence in the audience were the “’underds of blokes” that permeated First Ave. Loads of British rugby players, wearing bright red t-shirts, many who had a Union Jack scarf wrapped around their heads. One stood out---strikingly. He was younger, (most of the blokes looked over 35) and he was covered, head to toe in Britishness. His shirt was made of a Union Jack, as were his pants, and the scarf that covered his head. He emerged from the pit after the show was over, soaked in sweat (his and everyone else’s) and was wearing one of the biggest grins I have ever seen. he looked knackered, but so blissed out (exactly the way I felt). he didn’t say a word, but he looked at his friends and just shook his head in disbelief. I thought, they must be gobsmacked to see the biggest band in Britain at a small club in the States. I can’t imagine what that would be like for them! the look on this guy’s face said it all, though.
About ten minutes after the lights came up and the band ended their 75-minute barrage of musical explosion, we were all walking around stunned. I was standing on top of the stairs, watching the crowd disseminate below…and this sweaty, smiley (we ALL were, you see…) A young guy kinda looks around and at me and says, “Is that it? Are they done?” about the encore-less show. Being the hardcore freak that I am, I just nodded yes, and smiled. Poor guy, I thought, he thinks there’s supposed to be an encore—like EVERY OTHER SHOW YOU’VE EVER BEEN TO. Not The Lads, though. Not for them. In a way it was a relief (no knocked-down expectations) to know that there wouldn’t be any more after the six-minute epic “A Certain Romance” ended the show.
It was then, in those last few moments we saw the Lads smile the most. They were quietly giving attention to the new Lad, Nick O'Malley. The spotlight shone down on the bass player, as he broke into a shy grin. No words were spoken, but the crowd burst into a welcoming cheer for him and his last, dope bass lines of "Romance"... it was the perfect way to say goodbye--with the Lads smiling and soaking it all up as the crowd thanked them in our spastic, American fashion.