A couple months back, my friend Sean tells me he’s getting tickets for Jane’s Addiction, Gomez, some other band I can’t remember, and for the Arctic Monkeys / Black Keys. I told him I was in for sure on the Black Keys. A couple weeks after that, I was talking to Sean again and told him I was pumped for the Black Keys coming up and I’d been listening to a lot of Arctic Monkeys as well. He tells me “Remember I told you I never got tickets for that show”. I had forgotten he told me that and I was bummed for a day or two and then asked him if it was still possible to get tickets. It would be a shame to miss an opportunity to see two great bands at JLA. Sean, as it happens, is the ticket acquisition master and within a day we had tickets on the floor. My friend Eric also thought it would be a fun show and was able to get a ticket on the floor at the last minute too, nice. So it was three of us, our crew was set, and we we’re on our way from northwest metro Detroit to downtown Detroit with a bunch of beers for some tailgate drinking.
When we got downtown, Sean didn’t have his ticket, he had left it on the coffee table which would be an hour & a half lost in the round trip to get it. We had a crisis now and Sean thinks he can access a computer & printer at the Marriot. Luckily, there are two Marriots downtown but the one in the GM building is out because the enormity of the Renaissance Center is like a giant maze from a scary movie, so we make for the one on East Jefferson. Sean parks the car in front of the sign you see at the bottom of this post that says Private Property – NO PARKING – Violaters Will Be Towed. When we got into the Marriot, we didn’t have a key to access the computer room. We were able to find someone nice enough to let us in and within a minute, Sean was on stub-hub printing himself a new ticket. Car is still there, we’re back in, on our way, crisis averted.
Every time I visit downtown I’m held in awe of the the beautiful buildings that reign from the 1920’s. I had been snapping so many pictures it caused Sean to ask me if I had ever seen the inside of the Gaurdian Building. I told him no. I told him I felt like a tourist in my home town. He said it was worth illegally parking one more time, which he did, and I ran inside to snap some more pictures that are attached at the bottom of this post. The building is magnificent. Detroit was once the Paris of the world and amidst so much decay you sometimes forget how beautiful some of its gems truly are; you’re for a moment caught awestruck at her marvel and beauty. But we gotta get moving and get to the show.
We park at the structure by Cobo Joe’s on Congress to carb up which is a sweet place for a show at JLA because the elevator takes you straight down to the bar. It’s awesome because you can basically take the elevator back to your car very easily when you leave the bar to attend to any last minute things you need to do. That $10 parking pass is almost like having a sweet tailgating spot right next to Cobo Hall with an elevator to Cobo Joe’s doorstep. So we eat, we leave the bar, quick trip back up to the car, and this is the kicker with regard to that parking location: you can walk inside through Cobo Hall all the way to the river front when it’s butt-ass freezing outside. You only have to walk one short block outside to JLA if you cut through Cobo Hall. It’s the smart thing to do when visiting Joe Louis Arena. It works for Red Wings games too.
So we were a little behind schedule because of the ticket situation and a couple photo ops but we had built in enough cushion time to not miss any of the show. We had to find the wrist-band chick so we could get our wrist-bands to get on the floor, grab another beer, and we were off. We were watching center stage when I took this video of Suck It and See:
It’s a shame the audio quality was so poor on the video. I charged up my old iphone 3GS for taking some vids and got some footage, but the audio was poor. But, I still actually think the footage is decent and entertaining so I have watched it all a few times now. The footage above is part of the song titled Suck It and See. It sounded a lot better live, trust me. These guys are in the pocket. They have been jamming for a long time. I remember when they were first introduced in the US, or when I first saw them anyway, was after the release of Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not. It was MTV that was running the Arctic Monkeys hard. If I’m remembering correctly, MTV was playing 24/7 footage of Arctic Monkeys in concert. I remember them rocking pretty good back then, but MTV was over the top with the 24/7 shit and it ended up being good and bad for the band’s PR at the same time. It’s like you’re getting sweet coverage, but by repeating it so much people resent the over-coverage and you take some downside because people feel force fed… corporations… But, that was a long time ago anyway, and, like good bands do, they have persevered and continued to produce good music and sound/perform well live. Here’s the tail end part of Suck It And See and the beginning of Library Pictures:
This next bit of footage still has poor audio but it’s by far my best footage of the Arctic Monkeys on the evening and it grew on me a little more after I watched it a couple times:
Because of the old beat up iphone 3GS, the sound quality is lacking, but if you were there live in JLA, it sounded really good. In this video there is a little intro before RU Mine and then the lead singer, Alex Turner, gives a shout out to the drummer, Matt Helders, as the Rhythm Panther and exclaims “we know you love drummers Detroit” which is totally true. And Matt Helders did steal the show a little. He came out in American Flag pants and he totally rocked. He reminded me of someone who would play middle linebacker or strong safety in football. They were playing RU Mine for the first time live I think and it all sounded good. At this point in the Arctic Monkeys setlist, from about RU Mine forward, the crowd was into it. The crowd had still been filing in for the first couple of songs, but by the time they got to RU Mine it was pretty much a packed house and people had established their positions for the night. Their next song was Brick by Brick and they still had This House Is A Circus, Still Take You Home, and When The Sun Goes Down left to play. I think the setlist was well structured to bring out some big gun songs after we achieved the full weight of a packed JLA audience.
Overall, I would have to say Arctic Monkeys were awesome and I’m really glad they came to Detroit. I’m thankful I was able to see this band live as I have liked their music over the past decade. Their songs are pretty well interspersed in my Pandora stations and I find them to be very solid. It’s a shame the 3GS had such shitty audio quality. I still think my vid clip of RU Mine and Brick by Brick is a solid keeper and was my best Arctic Monkeys clip of the night. I would have to say they rocked it and the crowd loved them. It’s always nice when a band can bring it in the city of truth, because if you suck, you will get your shit handed to you. The whole city of Detroit can be like the Apollo theater sometimes and it was nice to see everybody rockin.
Below are some pictures of the old train depot from the movie Transfomers, the inside of the Guardian Building, and some shots from the streets of Detroit. Even with all the splendor of that beautiful Guardian Building, the picture of the old brown Cadillac with low tire pressure is one of my favorites. The picture of the Renaissance Center with the moon is pretty cool too. Another footnote is that I saw a picture of a couple of the guys from Arctic Monkeys with a Cadillac CTS-V that looked somehow connected to General Motors and that’s a sweet ride. My friend Jeff has a Cadillac CTS-V and they’re super fast.
I’ll put the photos up later – come back and check them out later. I also will try to write a quick post for Black Keys. They were awesome. I have some 4GS video of them and it’s better than 3GS video.