Follow the long road from Sheffield to Finsbury Park
Andrew Trendell

10:47 13th June 2014

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13 June: On this day in 2003, Arctic Monkeys played their first ever gig at The Grapes in Sheffield. It was a humble start - and they pocketed just £27 from ticket sales. Little did they know what the next decade would hold. It's a long road to Reading and Finsbury Park. 

From their days as four spotty Sheffield youngsters banging out White Stripes covers, to the Glastonbury-headlining rock and roll behemoths that they are today, the unstoppable rise of the Arctic Monkeys has been checkpointed by truly unforgettable and bewilderingly significant shows. 

If you were at any of these gigs, then you're very lucky indeed. Here are the 16 most most important landmark gigs of Arctic Monkeys career so far. 

  • The Grapes, Sheffield - 2003: On 13 June 2013, four spotty young Yorkshire lads stepped on stage for their first ever gig in a humble Steel City boozer, rattling through early tracks including early tracks 'Ravey Ravey Ravey Club' and 'Curtains Closed', as well as covers of 'Black Math' and 'Hotel Yorba' by The White Stripes, 'Teenage Kicks' by The Undertones, 'I'm Only Sleeping' by The Beatles and 'Harmonic Generator' by The Datsuns. They earned just 27 quid from ticket sales. Little did they know that megastardom was just around the corner.

  • Reading & Leeds 2005: The band's Under The Boardwalk bootleg and MySpace tunes had spread the band's music over the internet like wildfire - making them the biggest unsigned band in the world. It wasn't long until Domino signed them in May 2005 and their profile only exploded from there. They were given an unassuming afternoon slot on the tiny Carling Stage at Reading & Leeds 2005, but the insanely huge crowds they attracted made it pretty much impossible to get anywhere near - a sure sign that the hype would lead to much, much bigger things.

  • The Astoria, London - 2005: Shortly before 'I Bet You Looked Good On The Dancefloor' stormed straight to No.1, Arctic Monkeys sold out their first ever London headline show at London's 1,200-capacity iconic Astoria (RIP). There's a bootleg DVD of the show doing the rounds online, which you should definitely check out.

  • NME Awards Tour 2006: The band blow all other bands off the stage on the painfully 2006 NME tour with Maximo Park, We Are Scientists and Mystery Jets - and they aren't even headlining.

  • Brixton Academy, London - 2006: Nothing says 'victory lap' quite like selling out Brixton off the back of your first album - the first step on the ladder to arenas, stadiums, festival headline status and world domination. Tickets to all 12 shows on the tour sold out in under an hour.

  • Glastonbury 2007: After picking up the Mercury for their debut and storming straight back with chart-topping second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, the band proved that they were much more than a fad and landed their first ever headline slot at Glasto - even inviting Dizzee Rascal to join them on stage.

  • Lancashire County Cricket Ground, Manchester - 2007: As if Glasto wasn't enough, the band headlined their own mini festival a month later supported by some pretty huge names, including Amy Winehouse and Supergrass.

  • Manchester Apollo - 2007: The band ended their Favourite Worst Nightmare tour in style - with a secret gig at The Apollo recorded for a live album and DVD. Shot by Richard Ayoade (from The IT Crowd, Garth Merenghi's Darkplace etc) and photographed by cinematographer Danny Cohen (This Is England) it's a true thing of beauty.

  • Wellington, Australia - January, 2009: Arctic Monkeys give the world the first taste of Humbug at some Big Day Out sideshows, with a cover of native Nick Cave's 'Red Right Hand' thrown in for good measure. Their darker, less frantic new sound proves a struggle for many fans, but stands the test of time and sets the band up for some of the biggest shows of their career.

  • Reading & Leeds 2009: The lads finally fulfill their childhood dream and headline R&L for the first time ever

  • Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield - 2011: The band kick off fourth album Suck It And See and showcase an explosive harder-rock direction under a bigtop with a a glorious homecoming show, with a pretty impressive line-up. There's official footage of the show on Youtube, which is definitely worth a watch.

  • Olympics Opening Ceremony, London - 2012: The band dazzle the entire world with a dazzling performance of 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' and a cover of The Beatles' 'Come Together' - with a little help from some angels on bikes.

  • Glastonbury 2013: Arctic Monkeys play an absolute blinder and make Glasto history with one of the best gigs of their career, headlining the Pyramid Stage for a second time

  • The AM UK tour 2014: Alex Turner and co take their record-breaking fifth album to the masses with a run of massive arena and stadium shows - showcasing themselves as the most in-demand live band in Britain.

  • Madison Square Garden, New York - 2014: They've always been a pretty big deal in the UK and Europe, but the past 12 months were the year that Arctic Monkeys really 'broke' the US. The last time they were over there at Madison Square Garden in 2012, they were supporting The Black Keys - this time around, they sold it out all by themselves - and will be headlining plenty more Stateside festivals this summer.

  • Finsbury Park - 2014: Alex Turner and co stunned fans with a true celebration of the band and the success of AM at London's Finsbury Park, playing to over 80,000 fans across two nights.

  • Reading & Leeds 2014: And yes, this summer they're going to headline R&L again, just because they can - can they top Glasto last year?

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Photo: WENN/Press/Rick Caughey