So I recently had four days in Paris, the city of romance, moules and plenty of vin. While I was there, I got to see the Arctic Monkeys (again – I’d seen them at Wembley back in 2009). I was looking forward to it though, as it’d been a while since I’d seen a band live and it was a new venue in a different country to also tick off. I hadn’t really got into the latest album though, so wasn’t too sure how much I’d know.
They played at Le Zenith, a fairly large arena with capacity of 6,300 – seats and standing. The show was a sell-out and leaving was horrendous – so many people and the metro platforms were also heaving. Le Zenith de Paris was the first of the franchise and this particular venue has staged a wealth of musical acts, other events and even the MTV Music Awards. We sat down while having a drink and something to eat but stood for the main event – although I would have much rather sat out the way, but more about that later.
Back to the gig and the support act were The Strypes – an indie four piece from Ireland. For some reason, I had heard of them before, but I still can’t think where from or why. The 16-year-old me would have loved them, but I wasn’t a fan – it was just too shouty for my liking. Their set lasted about 30 minutes, but I was really impressed by the numbers that turned up to watch them. I’ve never seen so many people stand and watch a support act before and the venue was close to capacity way before Alex Turner and Co took to the stage. As you’d expect, there was a group right at the very front – I dread to think what time some of those people arrived!
‘Cause there’s this tune I found that makes me think of you somehow, and I play it on repeat...
The set began with Do I wanna know, which was quite predictable, before they went on to play a couple of classics and older numbers like Dancing Shoes. The set differed a lot from the last time I saw them play and numbers not often played were performed – like Reckless Serenade. The crowd were left waiting until about halfway through for Why do you only call me when you’re high and it was funny watching the French try and sing along – it was obviously in most cases, the only words they knew were the titles of the songs. Talking of high, the doormen and security clearly did a good job of searching everyone as they went in.
What came first – the chicken or the dickhead?
My favourite ever line from an Arctic Monkeys song and another the locals were not familiar with – although they did stand and sway their arms along to the chorus (as well as lighters). I bet you look good on the dance floor followed and everyone went mental – trying to get that bit closer to the stage. This of course meant a lot of pushing and shoving, which was actually more unbearable than usual. Piledriver Waltz was another song not often performed and the set concluded with Fluorescent Adolescent from Favourite Worst Nightmare before ending with I wanna be yours.
I go crazy 'cause here isn't where I wanna be...
The encore consisted of three songs – the first of which I hadn’t heard before in Snap out of it – but they ended with two crackers in Mardy Bum (which I had been waiting for all night – and probably dedicated to me given the face I was pulling after being battered black and blue by French boys!) and RU Mine – the perfect finale.
There were a couple of songs I was expecting (A Certain Romance) and hoping to hear (505 and When the Sun Goes Down), but as always, the Arctics put on a good show – and who’d have thought Alex had laryngitis?! The food and drink was expensive, but of course that’s to be expected. All in all, it was a really enjoyable night – despite some of the people – and I’ve currently had AM in my car all week!