When the words The 1975 were projected in blue light, sound-tracked by Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon’, a cheer rocked the AO Arena. The crowd waited with bated breath for the show to start. Questions, which would in any other context be insane, such as “would Matty Healy eat raw meat?” were on everyone’s lips.
To give some context to that, if you don’t know, Matty Healy’s antics have been all over every social media platform and have drawn a lot of attention to The 1975’s current tour. This, however, is perhaps the wrong thing for social media to be focusing on. The show that followed proved that the true highlight of The 1975’s At Their Very Best tour is that the band, more than ever, deliver pure pop euphoria at its finest (with lots of viral antics along the way).
The band came onto stage with their latest eponymous album opener, with Matty Healy’s frantic piano playing imbuing the start of the show with a sense of urgency that rippled across the crowd. It was an arresting opening. The band then began to perform their newest hits, such as ‘Looking for Somebody to Love’ and ‘Part of the Band’, with the audience shouting along to every word, hooked on the spectacle beginning to unfold before them.
Throughout this, Healy danced through the stage’s mid-century house set design. The house was a key part of the band’s performance as Healy moved from the piano to the house’s chairs and, later, onto the house’s roof where he sang ‘I Like America and America Likes Me’, his voice soaked in autotune as he cried out to the crowd.
The show had an emphasis on the idea of performance. This flair for the dramatic was a key part of the show, lending itself to moments such as, to the audience’s delight, Carly Holt Hann (the female singer on the band’s hit ‘About You’ and wife of the band’s lead guitarist Adam Hann) appearing to sing her part. Healy and the band’s desire to surprise didn’t end here, though, as Healy performed press-ups in front of images of controversial political figures such as Rishi Sunak, Vladimir Putin, and Andrew Tate, before climbing into a TV.
Seconds after this, Charli XCX rocketed onto stage with her hit ‘Vroom Vroom’. Arriving with a scream, her appearance raised the mood from the political darkness the band alluded to with the press-up performance. In bringing Charli XCX onto the stage, the band showed a dual awareness of the deep political issues in today’s world, which they sought to remind the audience of, but also of the need, in the midst of all of that chaos, for pure pop fun.
The show was filled, of course, with many humorous moments that will surely be flooding social media soon. The best of these moments was involving, of all things, a Greggs sausage roll, after one hurtled towards Healy from the crowd. Wasting no time, and with a quick “thank you, mate”, Healy tucked into the sausage roll, something he’d immediately come to regret as he realised his quip of “you haven’t pissed on it, have you?” might have been more true than he thought.
That impulsivity, he admitted, had led him to sip Lemsip towards the show’s start, as he joked that his infamous sucking of a fan’s thumb had given him a cold. Healy’s a natural showman, towing the line between satire, genuine oddity, and performance like no other. When appearing to be entirely in his own world, he lets his fans know he’s in on the joke, such as when he referenced the viral video of him singing an autotuned “don’t throw menthols on this stage”, during a performance of ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’.
The band, with a joyful shout of ‘the show’s only just getting started’, flew into their classics, with ‘If You’re Too Shy, Let Me Know’, ‘It’s Not Living, If It’s Not With You’, and ‘Somebody Else’. The response to these fan favourites was deafening, as the crowd faithfully recalled every word to these songs, shouting particularly loudly to the anthemic ‘If You’re Too Shy, Let Me Know’.
Hit after hit went by with an unrelenting energy that one couldn’t help but get caught up in, which culminated in the entire arena jumping to ‘The Sound’. The show, later, progressed into reviving deep cuts, such as ‘Fallingforyou’ and ‘Menswear’, before finally coming to a close when Matty Healy climbed the power mast on stage and cut the power in a dramatic finish.
To summarise The 1975’s show in a phrase, just look to the tour’s name: it’s The 1975, At Their Very Best. The show was a testament to the qualities that make the band so enduring: their mix of the political with their indie pop sensibilities, Healy’s flair for the dramatic and an ability to put on a show-stopping performance. If you can, head to the nearest venue that The 1975 are playing near you for a performance you won’t forget.
You can stream their latest album Being Funny In A Foreign Language here: