THE crowd went ape as the band of the moment hit the stage for one of the most hotly anticipated gigs for ages.

Just like for The Jam back in 1977 and Duran Duran in 1980, this was the moment for the magical Arctic Monkeys.

All tickets for the gig sold out within minutes of going on sale and the sea of mobile phones at the gig showed that the crowd of 3,000 were determined to record every moment just to let their friends know they were there.

And, unusually, the Civic was packed by 8pm even though the Monkeys didn't come onto stage until well after 9.30pm.

Their music itself is indicative of Blair's Britain, with songs focusing on lost hope and fears of job losses, all played with a gritty realism.

They started off with a few bars from Riot Van and then launched into View From The Afternoon and, my personal favourite, Mardy Bum.

Their musical ability couldn't be faulted, sounding as perfect as the recorded versions and the chart-toppers I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor and When The Sun Goes Down had everyone singing along.

It was very obvious the band is not used to appearing live as the four members stood static at their mics throughout the hour-long set.

Lead singer Alex Turner did say a few words but his strong Sheffield accent and the huge amount of noise in the hall made them hard to distinguish.

The gap between songs was far too long and made the audience a little restless but everyone had got what they wanted - to see a chart-topping band appear at an intimate gig.

At the end, the band just sloped off stage and the audience went home.

Everyone knew there would be no encore as they had played everything they knew.

But fans enioyed their own encore by blasting out their Arctic Monkeys CDs in their cars as they travelled home.