Glastonbury Lookback: Arctic Monkeys’ iconic headline sets from 2007, 2013, and 2023


Sheffield’s legendary indie rockers, Arctic Monkeys, could possibly be the best band to headline at a festival. They’ve got an arsenal of energetic songs which are perfect to jump and mosh to in the sunshine combined with quieter songs to drunkenly embrace your friends too, but their changing aesthetic caused complaints this year at Glastonbury.

The Monkeys have headlined Worthy Farm on three occasions, the first being in 2007 after the success of Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and Favourite Worst Nightmare. The setlist included the ever-popular ‘505’ (With Miles Kane making a guest appearance), ‘Brianstorm’, and ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’, all of which have stayed on the playlist every time. 

The band’s second headliner came in 2013, a few months before the release of their best-selling album, AM. By this time, the band had ditched their humble indie aesthetic for a more suave, old-Hollywood look, which made them take the Pyramid stage with confidence and success. The band opened with the electrifying ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, whilst still playing their earlier classics, this time with tracks from Humbug and Suck It And See

2023 marked their most recent Glastonbury appearance, which was touch and go thanks to an acute case of laryngitis for frontman Alex Turner after a non-stop schedule promoting their 2022 album, The Car. Critics loved the performance, hailing this ‘the golden age’ of Arctic Monkeys, but fans were less impressed. Turner’s transition into a crooner left the audience claiming the songs were ‘too slow’, and they joked that Turner was trying his hardest to prevent the audience from singing along. Despite this, die-hard AM fans loved the performance and jumped to the band’s defence, proclaiming that the band had entered a more grown-up, sophisticated phase. 

I’m sure there’ll be plenty more Glastonbury visits from Arctic Monkeys to come!


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