After releasing their 5th studio album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” the 1975 have embarked on their most ambitious tour yet. Front man, Matty Healy, is no stranger to satire. With this in mind, the band titled their new tour “The 1975 At Their Very Best,” leaving dedicated fans more than unsure of the era that was yet to come. That was, until the first few shows began to happen. Show review by Erika Lyijynen, and added photos from The 1975’s tour photographer Jordan Curtis Hughes.
Being back in the U.S. for the first time since before the pandemic, the Manchester-based band created a performance that not only highlights the profound creativity of the group, but gives fans an experience they won’t be able to forget. As a band that has never been afraid to try something new, the 1975 have managed to create one of the most artistic, pretentious, and beautiful shows to date.
A week into their November tour, the 1975 came to Camden, New Jersey’s Freedom Mortgage Pavilion to perform what felt like a living piece of art. Ditching the signature rectangular boxes that once were the star of their stage, the 1975 conceptualized an entire new arrangement that makes the audience feel much more at home— literally. The entire set was designed as a house. With two separate levels, a staircase, connecting doors, and even stocked bookshelves and working lamps, it felt like we all had been personally invited to Matty Healy’s home… or some sort of weird “the 1975-themed” dollhouse.
Unveiling the spectacle by dropping a massive blue curtain that highlighted the band’s name, a street light slowly flickered on to brighten the dark stage. The sound of a distant car pulling up, parking, and locking could be heard, soon followed by footsteps that were quickly drowned out by the audience’s screams. As the “front door” opened, the audience erupted as Healy walked through the house, slowly opening doors and turning on each light. After making his way to the main portion of the house that portrays a living room, Healy sat at the piano, lit one of his iconic cigarettes, and began playing the intro to their album, “The 1975.”
With these few small gestures, Healy had set the tone for the first half of the performance. The two-hour set was split into two main acts, the first being more focused on songs from the new record, the theatrics, and the front man being his pretentious self. As the band took their rightful spots in each individual room, the mood quickly changed as the group jumped into one of their more upbeat tunes, “Looking for Somebody (to Love).” Healy radiated confidence as he performed his questionable, yet beloved dance moves and his ability to get a crowd amped up. From there, the band went on to play five more songs off of BFIAFL, four of which were the album’s singles. Throughout the songs “Happiness,” “Part of the Band,” “I’m in Love with You,” and “All I Need to Hear,” the chemistry that has kept the band together for over a decade now could be clearly seen on stage.
There were brief interludes of Healy watching a distorted TV, drinking from a flask with unknown substances, and lighting cigarettes. The show consistently had the audience wondering what was coming next—especially after news aired of Healy eating raw meat at their Madison Square Garden show a few days prior. After performing tunes off of their recent record, the band had old fans dropping to their knees when the beginning synth in “fallingforyou” began to play. With barely any time to recover, the 1975 jumped into one of BFIAFL greatest hits– “About You.” This song was amazing with its dreamy, dirty nostalgic feeling. It was similar to the energy in “Robbers,” the song featuring the angelic voice of Carly Holt (guitarist Adam Hann’s wife), which has become increasingly popular and did not disappoint live.
Finishing up the first half of the set alone with a quick rendition of “Be My Mistake,” Healy temporarily tapped into his softer side when emphasizing how he’s “not very good at being home or by myself.” That earnestness quickly left, however, as he finished the song and began doing dozens of pushups in front of a blurry television before diving into it to be consumed.
The audience then sat in shock and awe for a few brief minutes before the band returned to the stage; this time seemingly with even more energy than before. After a quick outfit change, the 1975 jumped into popular tunes from their older albums, kicking it off with “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know).” Making a lighthearted joke that he “was just pretending before,” Healy and the band went on to perform with a presence that only the 1975 has. Playing iconic song after iconic song, you could see palpable happiness on just about every audience and band member’s face. As the set entered into hits like “Robbers” and “Somebody Else,” tears, screams, and cries for joy could be heard from around the venue. If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that the 1975’s fans are beyond dedicated to the art that the band has created over the years.
Then, the guitar to “Sex” starts. For any 1975 fan familiar with the show, this song comes with the difficult emotions of being happy to hear it and being sad that the show is coming to a close. Luckily, the 1975 know how to make it memorable.
All in all, the 1975 were absolutely correct in calling this tour their “very best.” Highlighting the whimsical inspirations and creativity in Healy’s life while still emphasizing the power of their old work, the 1975 created an artistic performance that will leave a lasting impact on anyone who has the opportunity to see it live.