By far the greatest debate surrounding Arctic Monkeys‘ heel-turn sound on new album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ was how on earth it was going to work live. Amid their more blustery, riff-driven past material, many feared that the meandering, piano-led, stream-of-consciousness storytelling of LP6 would get lost on stage.
They were foolish to ever doubt the Monkeys, of course. As the ‘Tranquility Base…’ world tour has kicked off, Turner and co. have been slowly rolling out tracks from the album, and revealing new sides to the material in the process – from Matt Helders’ powerhouse drumming giving each track more oomph to the duelling guitars of Jamie Cook and Alex Turner making things notably more barbed. Below, we’ve rounded up the full album tracklist, alongside a bunch of live videos, so you can see just how ‘Tranquility Base…’ sounds in the flesh.
1. ‘Star Treatment’
The live debut of ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino”s opener came at a special intimate Royal Albert Hall show, kicking off the band’s encore. The twinkling keys and batshit lyrics (“I just wanted to be one of The Strokes”, anyone?) filled the cavernous hall, and made for a left-field singalong, which was belted back with a gusto usually reserved for their more anthemic classic tracks.
2. ‘One Point Perspective’
Debuted at a California show (naturally) back in May, the chirrupy ode to “dancing in my underpants” comes alive on stage, with the stripped-back drumming of the studio version given a boost by the hard-hitting Helders. It’s been a mainstay of the ‘Tranquility Base…’ tour’s setlists ever since, and made an appearance on the band’s recent ‘Live At The BBC’ broadcast too. The best bit of the whole thing, though? Alex Turner acting out losing his train of thought, right after singing “bear with me, man – I lost my train of thought”. Genius. Give the man an Oscar.
3. ‘American Sports’
Another track that got its first outing in San Diego, ‘American Sports’ has only been given sporadic outings on the Arctic Monkeys’ recent world tour. It’s perhaps unsurprising – the spidery melodies of ‘American Sports’ don’t quite translate as well to the live arena as ‘Tranquility Base…”s punchier moments.
4. ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’
The record’s spooky title-track – and its near-iconic “Mark speaking!” anti-chorus – has been wheeled out a bunch of times in recent weeks. Debuted on the second night of their two-night residency in San Diego, it’s a weird and wonderful addition to the Monkeys canon, full of laugh-out-loud moments – “kiss me under the moon’s siiiiiidebooooooooob” is perhaps the most baffling and brilliant hook to ever grace a festival field.
5. ‘Golden Trunks’
‘Golden Trunks’ is yet to get a live airing, peculiarly – you’d imagine that blown-out, distorted guitar riff would be prime for a big arena show or festival headline slot. Maybe they’re saving it for something special.
6. ‘Four Out of Five’
Up there with ‘One Point Perspective’ as the most-played ‘Tranquility Base…’ track, the record’s lead single ‘Four Out Of Five’ is currently being used as their set opener. Striding on stage to the siren-like sounds and flashes of red light that punctuate its Stanley Kubrick-inspired video, it’s a fittingly dramatic beginning number for one of the world’s most formidable live bands.
7. ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’
Another track that’s yet to see a live outing, in our expert opinion Turner’s ode to this brilliant YouTube video would be best served by a huge projection (or maybe a hologram? Budget depending, of course) of the actual monster truck front flip in question. Make it happen, lads.
8. ‘Science Fiction’
‘Science Fiction’ is another track that’s being kept on the back-burner. Expect it to rear its sultry head soon enough.
9. ‘She Looks Like Fun’
The rollicking drum rolls of ‘She Looks Like Fun’ have made their way to the setlist a number of times so far, allowing Matt Helders to let loose in a way few other ‘Tranquility Base…’ tracks allow. Wheeling out on-record collaborator and Pond/Tame Impala man Cameron Avery for the live renditions, the Monkeys also debuted the track live on the telly, treating James Corden to the stomping, bluesy cut.
Played live just a handful of times, the spacey penultimate track to ‘Tranquility Base…’ was trialled as an encore starter a few times, before being shelved. Probably for the best – while on record it’s a suitably spooked-out dissection of our dependence on technology, it’s a little bit too slow-paced for a Monkeys show.
11. ‘The Ultracheese’
The closer to Arctic Monkeys’ divisive latest record finally got its live debut in June, the sappy ode to a lost love becoming a spirited singalong on- and off-stage. Bringing the space-age record back down to earth, it’s the perfect addition to Monkeys’ renowned live show.