Hollywood Forever Cemetery describes itself as ‘a cemetery unlike any other in the world’ which I think is pretty accurate. I don’t know of any other cemetery that has a live music venue or such a high volume of famous people (from Judy Garland to Johnny Ramone) selecting it as their final resting place.
On a recent trip to LA, I was lucky enough to see one of my all-time favorite bands at this incredible venue. It all still feels quite dream-like (although that could have something to do with the fact I banged my head about 3 hours before the gig and possibly had a concussion).
The Arctic Monkeys have been getting a lot of stick for their new album Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino. Whatever you (or I) think about that, the band’s credentials as a world-class live act and Alex Turner’s charisma and pizzazz as a frontman are not up for debate.
Their gig at Hollywood Forever was phenomenal; aided by the atmosphere of being in a graveyard, in the middle of Hollywood, as the sun set over surrounding palm trees. I’ve seen this band perform in front of 200 people in Amsterdam, at their first Leeds Festival, countless U.K. venues, and most recently headlining the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury in 2013. Hollywood Forever was without a doubt their best performance yet for me.
The gig took place six days before the release of the Arctic Monkeys new album, so we were treated to tunes mainly from their back catalog with just three from Tranquility Base (see the setlist here). Crying Lightning and Do I Wanna Know? smack bang in the middle of the set was the highlight for me. I expect the rest of their live dates this year (including two at the Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco) will feature tracks from the new album more heavily.
Despite some of the flak the new album is getting there’s no doubt they still deliver the goods live. The fact that the band opted to play Hollywood Forever (which is a 6000 capacity venue) is pretty cool and an unforgettable experience for fans like me who were lucky enough to go.