It’s been exactly one week since I went to the best concert I ever went to.
Last Saturday I was in full on concert bliss at Finsbury Park in London, England. Yes, the very same Finsbury park where Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar for the first time ever in 1967, where Stone Roses reunited, where Morrissey draped himself in the Union Jack in 1992, and where Oasis reassembled twelve years ago for their world tour.
As far as gigs go Finsbury Park is legendary, so it was a no brainer that I had to be there for myself.
We arrived to Finsbury Park via the Piccadilly bus line from Manor House.
Walking into the park was a bit surreal (even though we were at the show the day before, it still didn’t feel real).
It was basically like it’s own little festival. Food venues all over, complete with its own Parrots Beak.
Also so many beautiful merch booths were everywhere but I was on a mission since there was only a certain amount of front pit bracelets that were being handed out (the first 1,000 people got them if I heard correctly).
So with our gig bracelet in tow, we make our way through the already sea of people that formed at barrier. We find the perfect spot in center back middle, it may not be my typical barrier spot but at least I was able to see the entire stage, whereas the day before we were only able to see a part of the stage.
Royal Blood was the first of the supporting acts to perform, around 5:30pm, the Brighton duo did not disappoint.
The crowd was riled up and the energy started to flow as vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher emerged in their leather jackets and all black outfits.
The huge crowd was head banging and cheering along, and most importantly moshing along with their incredible guitar riffs and powerful drumming as the sun was finally making it’s appearance setting the tone for the rest of the acts to follow.
Royal Blood setlist:
Come On Over
Figure it Out
Out of the Black
We had about an hour until the following performance, so we make our way to the Parrots Beak to purchase some much needed celebratory gig drinks and to get ourselves riled up because next up was the man who I’ve been dying to see live for years, the Wirral riddler himself, Miles Kane.
As the roadies bring out the band equipment, the girls go crazy screaming in excitement and the guys all chanting Miles! Miles! Miles! Then through the smoke… Miles suddenly appears in a short sleeve paisley shirt and blue trousers that only he could rock.
The crowd starts getting even more wild. The Miles Kane madness was about to begin.
Miles Kane setlist:
Better Than That
Give Up (with Sympathy for the Devil snippet)
Don’t Forget Who You Are
Come Closer (with extended outro)
I waited for years to see Miles Kane perform and let me just say, he was definitely worth the wait. I have seen many videos of Miles and he gives 100% into every performance. It’s full on energy, the man doesn’t slow down and it’s intoxicating to watch.
Plenty of jumping, mixed with those famous high kicks with his guitar, and we can’t forget about his hypnotizing voice.. It just captivates your attention and you can’t help but to dance and sing along with him. Which is what we did.
The crowd loved Miles and to be a part of that crowd was amazing, the energy was like no other. Everyone kept chanting Miles! Miles! Miles! and singing their all during the Sympathy for the Devil snippet (which I’ve seen before thanks to friends videos) I was finally lucky enough to see it for myself. During Come Closer, no one wanted his act to end, which makes sense as to why there was an extended outro.
Miles performance was surreal, high energy, and above all worth the money.
I hope he’ll tour the U.S. some day and if he does, I’ll make sure to be there because his show was that incredible.
We were on a Miles Kane high but we were also starving because we hadn’t had anything to eat that day, so before the next set we made our way through what seemed like a never ending crowd of people to exit the front pit and onto the outside where all of the food vendors were. The lines to buy alcohol/food were insane but we eventually found a fish and chips booth and bought some much needed food. As we were consuming, with great ferocity I might add, our fried goodness we hear Tame Impala’s set starting but we were too hungry to rush so we were just enjoying our food and jamming along.
Tame Impala setlist:
It Is Not Meant to Be
Solitude is Bliss
Half Full Glass of Wine
Auto-Prog mk. II
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
After we get our drinks we go back through the sea of people who are in full on Woodstock mode thanks to the tunes of Tame Impala. The high active energy has shifted to a more calm, serene hype with people slow dancing along to the music.
The crowd were feeling one with the music, head shaking and plenty of slow jamming along to the harmonious but classic jam-heavy set. Which is one of my favorite things about Tame Impala, is their lengthy jam sessions between songs.
We were all happy and shaking our heads along, it was perfect. Nothing but good tunes, good drinks, and good friends.
After Tame Impala thanked the crowd for coming out, the thrilling feeling of knowing that Arctic Monkeys were next was a feeling of nostalgia that I have missed.
To pass the time, we congregate and chat over past AM gigs with our Sheffield friends meanwhile we hear the all too familiar set up music that I’ve heard over and over from past gigs.
The sky was barely starting to darken when you see the classic AM smoke appear.
Enormous cheering surrounds the park, the familiar opening that we all saw and heard at Glastonbury last year [and other gigs since] gives me chills.
As the opening continues the best part of their appearance is seeing the stage turn around and then you hear Matt’s drumming intro to the song causing everyone to hum along. The stage now turned all the way to the front side, the stage lights start to flash and then the bass drops. There was this instant Arctic Monkeys camaraderie as soon as the intro started, everyone was humming, jumping, and singing along to that perfect riff. Colored smoke bombs were going off and that’s when it starts.
Arctic Monkeys setlist:
Do I Wanna Know?
Snap Out of It (with extended outro)
Arabella (with War Pigs snippet)
Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair
Library Pictures (with extended intro)
Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? (with extended intro)
I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor
No. 1 Party Anthem
Cornerstone (semi acoustic)
Knee Socks (with extended intro)
Standing Next to Me (the Last Shadow Puppets, acoustic)
One For the Road (with extended intro)
I Wanna Be Yours
R U Mine? (with extended outro)
I’ve been forewarned about British gigs particularly about the crowds because they are known to throw beer or piss (I’m not sure why this is a thing but it happens) and in typical British fashion, I got covered in beer (which I didn’t mind because out of beer and piss, pretty sure I’ll take beer every time) which mostly happened during the always insane Brianstorm.
There was no signs of second night fatigue from us. The whole set had the crowd belting out every single song, so much hype energy and jumping, it was great.
The rain clouds came and went but no one cared, all that existed in that moment was the music and being in good company from good people. The set was coming to a close during 505, the crowd grew in anticipation because everyone expected Miles Kane to make an appearance since it was the last night. Sadly there was no special appearance but something a little more special came later.
As the four lads from Sheffield thanked and gave their bows, the crowd grew impatient yelling and chanting things like Yorkshire! and Encore! for the guys to come back to the stage for their encore.
Just as the crowd starting getting a bit more impatient, Alex Turner comes out with Miles Kane. Miles checks his microphone ‘1, 2, Finsbury Park’ and strums his acoustic guitar then that’s when a smoking [literally he was smoking a cigarette] Alex cheekily asks the crowd ‘you like uh, the Last Shadow Puppets record?’ causing the girls to scream and the crowd to shout in a frenzy. Miles then rhetorically asks ‘I think there was a song called Standing Next to Me?’ causing the fans to yell in uproar and then Miles asks while looking at Al, ‘I think we should give it a go’. That’s when the most surreal moment of the whole concert happened.
(The above video is what I was able to capture.)
We were so happy to be a part of the Last Shadow Puppets return.
It was beautiful, everyone was cheering and hugging each other because we were apart of a great unexpected (but albeit we were all wishing it would happened) mini comeback.
The band comes back to finish with the always crowd pleasing R U Mine? which ignited the crowd. More energy, the crowd fiercely singing along. The whole night was beautiful and perfect. I was able to meet my online AM friends from Sheffield after years of ‘maybe soon’ and ‘hopefully’.
I couldn’t believe I was actually there and a part of Arctic Monkeys biggest gig to date with these friends who are also some of the biggest fans to share the moment with.
I am not a spontaneous person, at all, but I’m so glad that I decided to go to England. It was one of the places that I’ve always wanted to go and the power of the music was the push I needed. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.