As someone who has seen The 1975 live five times now, I thought I already knew what to expect from their latest tour promoting A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, yet, I still found myself surprised by the step up in quality. I’ve seen the band in small venues, at music festivals and an arena before, and truly loved each and every one. But there was something special about what The 1975 put together for their new tour.
It’s common that at arena gigs, if you aren’t dedicated or lucky enough to reach the barrier, you’re probably going to see very little of the band. And if you’re up in the back of the arena seats, your eyes will be glued to the screens just to get a glimpse of anything other than a blur. The 1975 completely eliminated this issue with their incredible unique light staging. Their crew (who deserve endless credit) work for hours to put up huge screens, platforms and moving rectangle constructions that re-imagine the stage as an interactive, responsive performance.
With the staging altering for different songs, with their own unique aesthetic, every song felt like a new experience; even for me, who has heard some of their classic songs more than I can remember. Highlights include ‘The Ballad of Me and My Brain’, where the huge background screen revealed a cut-out box for Matty Healy to perform in, raised up above the stage floor, as flashing words and images washed over him. The incorporation of quotes from ‘The Sound’ music video – real insults the band have received, broadcast onto a pink screen – felt like they were tying all their creations together in a fun way. I could sing praises about all of the lighting changes and set design for every song, which were always unique and impressive, but that would take hours! Just take my word for it, and maybe search YouTube for your favourite songs to see it for yourself.
Musically, they were superb. I’ve never heard them do a bad performance, and this was no exception. As their new album has played with autotune features and more music-focused songs, such as on the lovely ‘How to Draw/Petrichor’, it was really fun to see these used live. Shout-out to the idiots fighting in the seats, prompting Matty to berate them in his auto-tuned voice, providing much amusement for the crowd who knew how to behave at a gig.
Guitar and saxophone solos highlighted the talent of the other members of the band, ensuring it didn’t turn into ‘The Matty Healy Show’. They showed support of No Rome, their upcoming labelmate and opening act, by bringing him on during their set to perform his catchy song ‘Narcissist’ in collaboration with the band. The whole show felt like a celebration of music and love; it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. If you like even a handful of songs from The 1975, you need to see them live for an unforgettable experience.