The weather in NYC on Saturday was soupy as hell; it had threatened to rain all day but never really did so the humidity was thick and clung immediately. It was hot enough in the stands at Forest Hills Stadium and I can only imagine what it was like on stage, but Arctic Monkeys‘ Alex Turner kept his jacket on the whole show. This was the band’s second sold-out show in a row at the Queens venue, and while night 1 had Turner sporting his slicked-back AM-era Teddy Boy look, Saturday night he was going for more of a swaggering Serge Gainsbourg style. Turner had to have been burning up, but he never lost his cool.
Speaking of AM, Saturday was also the 10th anniversary of the album, and for a minute I thought they might play the whole thing in full. The night opened with a surprise appearance by iconic punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke, who had kicked off his North American tour the night before at Le Poisson Rouge and who gave the crowd a taste of his original version of “I Wanna Be Yours” — which Arctic Monkeys covered on AM — before introducing the band. (I had hoped this would happen, as it didn’t seem like a coincidence that they were both in town at the same time, but it was still awesome it did.) Arctic Monkeys then took the stage, launching into “Do I Wanna Know,” the opening song on the album which had the crowd roaring from the get go. Might they do it?
No, from there Saturday’s set was mostly business as usual for this tour, playing most of AM, a whole lot of Favourite Worst Nightmare, three from last year’s terrific The Car and at least one song from the rest of the catalogue save Suck it and See. Arctic Monkeys fans are devoted and loud, and were going crazy, singing along, dancing, and pumping their fists the whole night, most enthusiastically to the AM and FWN material, but even the loungey The Car songs had them going.
A giant mirrorball, emblazoned with “MONKEYS” on it, hung above the stage, so you knew The Car‘s big ballad first single “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” was coming, but they didn’t hit it with the spotlights till the song’s closing seconds. It stayed on for “505,” though, which was one of the highlights of a crowd-pleasing night. The stage design mirrored The Car‘s vibe, looking like a old TV variety show, with a circular projection screen in a neon frame, and the video felt like it was shot with low-res ’70s technology. Very effective and showy, in its own understated way, which is to say, very Arctic Monkeys.
I was late getting to Forest Hills so I walked in as Fontaines D.C. were saying “thank you and good night,” but photos of their set and the whole night by P Squared are in this post, along with both bands’ setlists and video (including John Cooper Clarke’s intro).
Check out pics, video and setlist from Forest Hills Night 1 here.
SETLIST: Arctic Monkeys @ Forest Hills Stadium 9/9/2023
Do I Wanna Know?
Snap Out of It
Four Out of Five
Sculptures of Anything Goes
Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
The View From the Afternoon
There’d Better Be a Mirrorball
Do Me a Favour
I Wanna Be Yours
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
R U Mine?
SETLIST: Fontaines D.C. @ Forest Hills Stadium 9/9/2023
A Lucid Dream
Boys in the Better Land
Jackie Down the Line
I Love You