Arctic Monkeys Dominates Their First Philippine Show

Maria Eliza Pineda

Years in the making, Arctic Monkeys has finally taken the Philippine stage last March 6, 2023 and serenaded the sweeping field of the Festival City Events Grounds with their iconic indie rock sound.

Photo credit: Iya Forbes

Only one day after the big comeback of the Wanderland Music and Arts Festival, Arctic Monkeys dominated the same stage as a kind of unofficial third day of the festival with Karpos Multimedia hosting both events. Booths from the festival were still in place and you could purchase booze or food, if you wanted to. Attendees of Wanderland flocked to see Arctic Monkeys just a day after despite the hectic schedule of the 2-day festival and having to purchase a separate ticket for this show.

This comes as no surprise because fans have been not-so-lowkey petitioning Arctic Monkeys to be part of the Wanderland lineup for years now. However, I do believe that it was infinitely more enjoyable that they were able to have the stage all to themselves. With over 9,000 people in attendance, there is no doubt that this band still has a solid fanbase in the country.

Photo credit: Iya Forbes

Photo credit: Iya Forbes

They packed their 2-hour show with a 21-song setlist that included a sprinkling of just about everything. They introduced fans to newer songs on their latest album, The Car, with classic hits and underrated tracks from their previous 6 albums.

Starting off with a new track from their latest album, Arctic Monkeys had the audience erupting into loud screams as they opened their show with “Sculpture of Anything Goes” followed in quick succession with “Brianstorm”, “Snap Out of It”, “Crying Lightning”, Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause i’ve Moved your Chair”, and “The View From the Afternoon”.

Truly an OG cool kid, frontman Alex Turner graced the stage wearing a spiffy, navy blue suit and sunglasses. Lucky for him, it was an unusually breezy day out in the field which also made it much better to dance and jump around to the band’s rockier hits.

The intro for “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” produced a louder barrage of screaming as a clear crowd favorite from their most commercially successful album, AM. “Four Out of Five” was next from their 2018 album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Followed by yet another fan favorite, “Arabella”.

The band, consisting of Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Nick O’Malley, and Matt Helders, were tip-top shape, not missing a single note and filling the place with passionate rocky and bluesy tones. Alex Turner, when not rocking out on his own guitar, showed off his iconic “drunk uncle” moves that seemed a bit out-of-place given his image and their music but gives him a unique kind of charm that’s delightful to watch.

After “Pretty Visitors” and “Cornerstone” came the song that everyone wanted to hear. If you know only a single song from this band, this is it. Starting off with the opening beat and iconic guitar riff, “Do I Wanna Know” garnered the loudest screams from the audience that night to no surprise. This is arguably the biggest hit the band has ever had and this song continues to be introduced to a younger audience from numerous fan edits and TikTok trends.

Fans exchanged lines with Alex throughout the chorus. “Do I wanna know,” fans ask in harmony. Alex answers: “if this feeling flows both ways.” 

A man of few words, there was very little banter from Alex or the rest of the band except for a quick break in between songs to exclaim in a heavy Northern English accent, “What a night!”

They continue to blast through song after song with “Do Me A Favour”, “Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino”, “Teddy Picker”,  and “From the Ritz to the Rubble”.

A classic and all-time favorite from their first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, the crowd got ready to jump for “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”.

The last song on their official set was “Body Paint” but of course, it doesn’t end there. After a few moments, the band reentered the stage with jazzy ballad, “There’d Better Be A Mirrorball” from their latest studio album, dropping an actual mirrorball at the very end of the song and bathing the stage in fragments of light.

They continued their encore set with “505”, a track from their second studio album Favorite Worst Nightmare released back in 2007. This song has had a recent resurgence on TikTok and has introduced new, younger fans to the band. With emotionally charged lyrics like, “But I crumble completely when you cry. It seems like once again you’ve had to greet me with goodbye,” it’s a timeless Arctic Monkeys song that showcases beautiful lyricism and rock musicality.

Photo credit: Iya Forbes

Finally, ending the night with a bang(er), the band concludes their encore set with rock anthem, “R U Mine” that had the audience jumping and dancing for their lives. Alex addresses the crowd for the last time, “Thank you for having me. What a wonderful crowd.” As the band blows kisses to the audience and says goodbye.

For long-time fans like me and even for newer fans of the band, this show was definitely worth the wait. The band gave it their all and jam-packed their setlist with songs they knew their fans would love. Indeed, PCD will hit hard after the Arctic Monkeys has just greeted us with goodbye. Can we go back to 505?

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