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  • Shannon Smith

LIVE: The 1975 ‘At Their Very Best’ - The band of a generation…

They’re back and with good reason… The 1975 released their phenomenal fifth album Being Funny In A Foreign Language last year which was followed by a huge US tour. Now the Wilmslow lads are back on home soil and have just finished up the UK & Ireland leg of the ‘At Their Very Best’ tour.

Surrounded by performance art, auto-tuned viral videos and the odd cancellation, ‘At Their Very Best’ is nothing like any fan of The 1975 will have seen before. Gone are the days of the neon rectangle behind the band as they rolled off hit after hit, this time is completely different. Set out as a television show in which lead singer Matty Healy is the director and The 1975 play the lead roles, the stage show is everything you would expect from the mind of the Dirty Hit lot. A blue curtain with a spotlight reading “The 1975” shining on it covers the stage before the band begins, something that has become synonymous throughout their fan base taking photos in front of it every night. As the curtain drops, the crowd is met with a structure of the inside of a house, outside one of the windows a light appears with the sound of a car pulling up, signaling that the band are about to come on stage, which is met by cheers and screams of joy by the arena. The door to the house then opens, and one by one, the band comes onto the stage, being announced through the two huge screens either side of the stage.

The first track from BFIAFL is played as Matty sits at his piano, a signal to the audience that the first half of the performance has begun, which is mostly songs from their new album, before an interval that then sees the band playing their biggest hits. The new album, as well as being Number 1 in the UK, seems to be a big hit throughout their fan base. Singles such as ‘I’m In Love With You’ and ‘Part Of The Band’ are met with copious amounts of 80s dance moves and often singing from the audience that is so loud you almost could not hear the band.

‘At Their Very Best’ as a whole has been The 1975’s most successful tour to date, selling out arenas all over the world, which is not anything new to the band, however this time feels different. This is the band’s first real tour since 2019, before the pandemic took over our lives and before TikTok was the most frequently used social media platform. The ‘TikTok-ification’ of The 1975 has took full effect, whether you see that as a good or bad thing, it’s certainly brought in a new audience and new fans for the band. Not a day has gone by during this tour where Matty’s auto-tune line at the beginning of TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME from the night before has been at the top of everyone’s for you page, it seems that “don’t like menthols” has become just as popular as “selling petrol” these days.

Something new but definitely not of any surprise this tour has been Matty’s performance art during the interval of the two shows. After the last BFIAFL song is played, the rest of the band leave the stage, leaving Matty to his own devices. Each night we’ve watched him unbuttoning his shirt as he lays back on the couch and thinks of England, doing push-ups in front of a TV that turns into some sort of portal he slides through and if that wasn’t enough for you, he also falls to his knees and eats a raw steak… That’s enough said about that.

Throughout the band's run of UK & Ireland arena’s, some audiences were lucky enough to have a ‘guest star’ at their show. From Lewis Capaldi to Taylor Swift, it was big star after even bigger star. As the interval finished, it was a hugely exciting moment to wait in anticipation for, hoping that your date also got a guest star. Newcastle were also lucky enough to have Matty’s own dad Tim Healy come out and sing a song.

Returning to the stage, it is easy to see why The 1975 are the band of a generation. Smashing through their biggest hits, it is not only the amazing musicians that the band are, but the genuine friendship they share that sets them apart. Matty, Adam, George and Ross are nothing short of geniuses in their own craft, and it is clear by watching them perform together how much love they have for each other and the love they have for creating music together.

As the lads finish the UK & Ireland leg of this tour with a small intimate performance at Gorilla tonight for War Child UK, it is easy to see that in years to come most will look back at this arena tour in the same way as fans who watched the band play in academy’s, as no doubt The 1975 will only get bigger & bigger, as they have done since their debut album released 10 years ago.

God bless the 1975.

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