The 1975 ‘At Their Very Best’ – 13/01/23

The lights went down in The O2 arena, where pop rock band The 1975 were playing their headline show. The curtain donned simply with The 1975 in a circle logo, dropped at 8:30 pm on the dot, to reveal a 1970s split-level apartment.

The show had begun.

Each member of the band, including all touring musicians, walked onto the stage through the ‘front door’, their name up on the LED screens introducing them to the crowd. In turn, they hung up their coats, turned on lamps and went to their respective instruments.

This moment already shows a huge progression from what was dubbed the ‘Matty Healy show’, during the band’s headline slot at Reading Festival back in 2019. Previously it was “Matty’s night” with no mention of the other musicians onstage. This time, it was an acknowledgement of everyone onstage coming together to create an amazing performance.

The lights focus on a brown leather sofa, where we see lead singer Matty Healy ‘sleeping’, suddenly stumbled awake and watch in anticipation as he sleepily walks over to a grand piano centre stage, lighting a cigarette and donning a bottle of red wine, going straight into ‘The 1975, BFIAFL’.

This unique, and enticing opening sets the tone for the rest of the night. This isn’t just any old gig, this is a performance, full of theatrics and well-rehearsed, yet unpredictable moments. Previously mocked for their showmanship, and accused of pretentiousness, the band have found a way to put their self-aware songwriting into a full-fledged two-hour concert, and have pulled it off seamlessly each song from their latest album ‘being funny in a foreign language’ met with a huge reception.

At one point Matty goes off on a tangent, starting a speech about what’s real and what’s not, before suddenly stopping and a group of ‘stage hands’ each wearing a white lab coat, join the stage, appearing to be adjusting hair and makeup. One of them snaps a clapper board yelling action and the scene starts again.

This clever moment gives fans a rare view into the psyche of the beloved lead singer. Once upon a time, it was all about getting smashed on stage, creating the persona of the classic tortured artist. This time we left questioning what’s real and what’s not, is Matty actually drinking cranberry juice from a red wine bottle? It wouldn’t be a surprise.

Something that is easy to overlook in the midst of the show is the genuine talent displayed by The 1975. They are a solid unit, professional and skilled, at no point faltering. This gig, filled with new songs and old favourites, hits home the name of the tour. Right now, The 1975 are truly ‘at their very best’.

All photos by Jordan Curtis Hughes

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