Back in 2010, the Arctic Monkeys came for the first time to México on a quick tour through Latin America as their latest album back then, Humbug, had just been launched. Two dates were scheduled, their last stop was Guadalajara and the first lucky ones to watch them would have to go to the Estadio Azteca in México City. No, it wasn’t a concert inside the stadium, only bands like U2 and World Cup football matches are able to fill its more than 110,000 seats. Arctic Monkeys were supposed to play at the outlines of the stadium and it was supposed to be a memorable show: we were all wrong and all went wrong.
There was an oversold amount of tickets, lack of security guards, an angry crowd, a company with a lot to learn about concert organization, the back section tearing down the fence of the front section, the opening act not playing and the Arctic Monkeys appearing 2 hours late and just for a 50 minutes set… Is this what they deserved as a band and what we all deserved as an audience? The feeling that we owed each other a memorable night persisted from that that on until now.
Now brought out by another concert company, promoting a different album and with the Palacio de los Deportes (known as the “copper dome”) chosen as the venue; expectations were high, especially for those of us who had the bad luck of attending their first show. All floor tickets were sold out, the place was packed and, unlike that awful night, everything was going as expected. Then, the dome lights went off and 4 musicians with their bodies fully covered with paint came on stage. No, these weren’t the Arctic Monkeys; these guys were La Vida Bohéme.
The Arctic Monkeys’ Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Move Your Chair
Coming from Venezuela to play at the biggest festival in México, the Vive Latino; Henry D´Arthenay, Daniel de Sousa, Sebastián Ayala and Rafael Pérez Medina began an energetic set with songs from their first record, Nuestra. Playing a style that sounds like a mix between the earliest Arctic Monkeys’ albums and The Rapture, the floor started to shake at the rhythm of Radio Capital. Definitely, one of the most memorable Latin opening acts this author has had the luck to encounter.
Later into the night, the fears that we lived a couple of years ago dissipated. Instead of the screams of people getting trampled against a fence, the shouts of angry fans, the footsteps of policemen and crappy speakers, Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair began to boom all over the place. And the mayhem began. Against their will, some of the public way in the back was pushed almost up to the front. Some lucky ones were pushed sideways. This guy? I ended up 3 people away from the stage. How? I wish I knew.
Along came Teddypicker, Crying Lighting and The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala; it seemed like this concert was on its way to become memorable for good reasons. But after Brianstorm, something was wrong: where have we seen this before? Then some of us realized this was almost exactly the same set of songs the Arctic Monkeys had been playing for months. They even used the same phrases between songs as their first visit and a lot of videos on YouTube.
The interaction with the audience seemed rehearsed and cold. It seemed like they were playing for themselves or to a bored audience. But everyone kept jumping, singing along, clapping and giving their best to improve their show. It wasn’t enough for them. Was this what we all were waiting for ever since we first heard Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not? The sound began to decay, as the Palacio de los Deportes is famously known as the Palacio de los Rebotes (which means “rebound palace” in Spanish, as the sound tends to rebound across the copper ceiling, making the hearing of loud music almost unbearable). Some of the public began to get out the mosh pits created in front of the stage and preferred to take a sit on the floor at the outer lines near the exits. That was the right idea.
Throughout the rest of the déjà vu, which barely lasted more than an hour, the sense of disappointment grew bigger. The best memories taken from this show were the live recording for their new single R U Mine? for their website, the way the whole Palacio de los Deportes sang Fluorescent Adolescent in its entirety and the fact that even if the waiting wasn’t worth it, at least a lot of us had the chance to see the Arctic Monkeys as it was meant to be back in 2010.
Next time, stick to the albums. Robotic performances are not friendly to any concert attendee. Maybe we were expecting too much of them, maybe the Arctic Monkeys are full of themselves. Who knows. What this writer does know, is that we gave them the chance as an audience to awestruck us, and a lot of us feel they failed. Bands like this should learn from legendary, not so old and still going bands such as Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters or else. You get what you pay for and hope for. They don’t do the typical scream-the-country’s/city’s-name and repeat they are the best audience ever.
As a musician and as an artist, you have to win your public over, feel them and let them feel you, put your heart into it. If not, what’s the point of live concerts?
Jorge A. López Mendicuti | Senior Writer