Arctic Monkeys – “Live at the Royal Albert Hall” Review
Translating the energy of a live concert to a recording is very difficult. On the Arctic Monkeys’ newest release “Live at the Royal Albert Hall,” the band pulls this off in roaring fashion with all the proceeds of the album going to War Child, a British-based charity supporting children affected by war.
With concerts on hold for the time being, the Sheffield-based band rocks through their biggest hits and switches up the style of some of their deep cuts to deliver a thorough and complete live album that listens very smoothly throughout.
The album starts with the cut “Four out of Five” off their latest major release “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.” The sonic beeping that precedes the track helps instill a sense of excitement in the listener, waiting for the band to queue into the first song on the setlist.
Another track that features a prolonged intro includes “Knee Socks,” which takes a solid minute to run through a subtle drum beat until the guitar riff joins in to thunderous applause.
The live album is at its peak when the band explores the sonic space with infectious energy. On one of their more popular tracks “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” lead singer Alex Turner runs through his vocals while the band jams vigorously behind him, culminating in Turner giving part of the chorus duties to the audience by the third go around.
Even the slower numbers breeze through, as the alternation from the more punk cuts of “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” to the softer piano ballads of “Tranquility,” never come off as too harsh and all seem united under the guise of Turner’s confidence.
The album, and in this case concert, does slog at certain times, where it feels like the band does feel a little unsyncopated. This occurs during the middle part of “Do I Wanna Know?” as well as the misguided and crowded “She Looks Like Fun.”
The live album also offers twists to certain deep cuts that only passionate fans of the band know — and often to great results.
On “From the Ritz to the Rubble” the bassline opens up the groovy track and hits its stride when the accompanying guitar joins. This track sounds better than it does on the Arctic Monkeys’ debut, and this can be attributed to giving the lead guitar more emphasis on the live track.
The highlight of the album has to also be the closer, “R U Mine?” Joining everything that makes this live album so special, from the ferocity of the thumping drums to the strong guitar riffs, it’s clear that Turner has full control of the audience by the time he puts an emphasis on the word “space” in the refrain. Toying with the audience making them think the concert is over, Turner launches into the refrain again even after the audience has clapped to showcase their appreciation.
Like any great concert, Turner knows that when the audience thinks the show is over is when you need to come back with even greater energy than before.
“Live at the Royal Albert Hall” is a fantastic live album for a great cause that casual listeners and passionate fans alike can take a strong liking to.
Reviewer’s Favorite Tracks: “Knee Socks” “From the Ritz to the Rubble”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Tracks: “She Looks Like Fun”
Paul Martin is a junior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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