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Matty Healy and the rest of his cohort in The 1975 have spent much of the last ten years holding the entire music industry in the palm of their hands. Their latest on stage offering, an almost entirely sold out tour entitled ‘The 1975: At Their Very Best’ is very much proof of this fact. Thousands of fans flocked to Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on Thursday night to witness the group’s greatness for themselves.
Divided into thirds and set to the backdrop of a sprawling two-storey house, the show begins, as they always have done: with the self-titled track ‘The 1975’ except this time it’s not the familiar lyrics of ‘Go down / soft sound’ that opened the shows of past tours pre-2020, instead it’s a track which sees Healy hold himself accountable and empathise with the current generation of teenagers growing up in the world of social media.
It’s the perfect preface to a night of clever socio-political commentary which includes Healy’s take on the stupidity of toxic masculinity through several gimmicks performed at every show on this tour. A segment entitled ‘Consumption’ in which he eats a chunk of raw meat, pretends to touch himself and then does a series of push ups (with his shirt off no less!) has caused quite the stir on Twitter. It’s a sign he’s still the same wacky and strangely wonderful frontman fans have come to know over the course of the group’s career.
The two-hour long set is a mish-mash of songs from across their catalogue that all seem to work in perfect harmony with one another.
The first third is dedicated to 2022’s ‘Being Funny in a Foreign Language’, with the disco groove of tracks like ‘Happiness’ complimenting earnest ballads ‘When We Are Together’ and ‘About You’, touring member of the band Polly Money performed Carly Holt-Hann’s verse on the latter and what a stunning rendition it was.
The band moved swiftly into the ‘Greatest Hits’ portion of the set as Healy swigged continuously from a bottle of red wine he had been nursing for most of the evening, it’s here that the excitement in the room swelled to an all time high as after hits like ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’ and ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’ we are hit with the distinctive opening drums of ‘She’s American’. A first performance of the song for this tour and one so old the singer required the lyrics in front of him (he still got them wrong).
The band launched into It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You) with the 11,000 strong Liverpudlian crowd delivering the classic ‘SELLING PETROL’ backing vocals whilst making their best attempt at side-stepping in time with the singer.
It’s not long before the atmosphere becomes tense as fans are made to cheer in order to vote for which song the group should play next. With a back catalogue as extensive as theirs, the choice was always going to be difficult but when you have to decide between ‘Paris’, ‘A Change of Heart’, ‘Menswear’ and ‘Medicine’ it’s virtually impossible.
Cheers were so loud for ‘Paris’ and ‘Menswear’ that the four-piece had no choice other than to play both before playing all the proper fan favourites like ‘Robbers’, ‘Sex’ and political anthem ‘Love it if We Made it.’
The end of the night was fast approaching, a timestamp pointed out by the glitz and glam so-sweet-it’ll rot your teeth pop explosion that is ‘The Sound.’ The audience knew what was coming as that iconic guitar riff kicked in – it was time for us to jump like our lives depend on it and with encouragement from Matty, that’s exactly what the audience did. After all, it wouldn’t be a ’75 gig if you didn’t leave with sore feet and ringing ears.
The thing with The 1975 is that they just keep getting better and better, it doesn’t matter if this gig was your first or your seventh time seeing them – there’s no denying that this is Matty, Ross, Adam and George at their very best indeed.