IT started with that most Sheffield of greetings: “Now then.”
They were Alex Turner’s first words to 10,000 Arctic Monkeys fans packed into Don Valley bowl for the band’s biggest ever hometown show.
The four lads from High Green might, in 2011, be global-conquering giants. But this weekend – over two nights in a specially-built marquee – they proved they are nothing if not Sheffield at heart.
From the frontman’s Don Valley T-shirt and his query as to who had come by tram, to the Kelham Island beer stalls selling local ale, there were so many nods to the city.
The band even walked on stage to Hot Chocolate’s Sexy Thing - a song most famous for featuring in The Full Monty.
“It was incredible,” said Emma Jepson, aged 24, a secretary of Millsands, Sheffield.
“Just being there felt like being part of something really special. There was such a good carnival atmosphere, it was more like a festival than a gig.”
That festival feeling, then, was helped by several highly accomplished support acts – notably The Vaccines and Anna Calvi – but the good weather played its part, with many enjoying food and drink between acts while sitting on the bowl’s grass.
The band had decided to perform in the marquee in case of rain - “you need that like you need mustard on your index finger” Turner had said - but despite downpours on Friday and Saturday afternoon, the weather remained warm both evenings.
“Everything was perfect,” said Arthur Robbeo, a 22-year-old factory worker from Hillsborough. “The weather was good, the surroundings were spot on and the band were phenomenal.”
They started with The View From The Afternoon, the opener from their debut album, and finished with A Certain Romance, the same album’s closer.
But, in between, there were 20 other songs from across their eight-year career, perhaps most delightfully a stripped down version of Mardy Bum which saw the crowd sing back every word to a clearly moved Turner.
“Sheffield,” he said at the end of the first night. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Alex, the pleasure was ours.
n More fans pictures on P28