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The 1975 @ Manchester AO Arena review – At their very best

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Featured image: Jordan Hughes


The 1975 in two halves, a tale of old and new


A decade on from their debut album, The 1975, now one of Britain’s leading indie pop-fuelled bands, are back with a world tour showcasing a journey of becoming a bizarre yet fascinating band of the millennial generation.

Manchester’s AO Arena played host to a meticulously designed stage set, immersing the crowd into the House of Healy, an open space made up of different rooms alongside movie style graphics on the big screens.

Frontman Matty Healy is known for his innovative storytelling and used the set design to tell a powerful story, throwing modern political suggestions through old style TVs and creating an atmosphere that captures the whole crowd.

Photography: Jordan Hughes

Beginning the two-hour long set with the new album ‘being funny in a foreign language’, Healy has caused quite the stir with this first half of the show. Fans on social media will be well aware of Healy’s unusual on-stage antics, which have resulted in trending videos from each gig. From kissing fans and eating raw meat, to touching himself in a provocative manner on stage, Healy did not fail to miss these out at his hometown show in Manchester. At one point, the frontman even resorted to eating a Greggs sausage roll someone threw on stage – fittingly this is no doubt going to be another viral moment for Healy. 

The Manchester crowd then got surprised with a special appearance from pop star Charli XCX, performing one song to split the show into its two halves. Charli certainly changed the unearthly feel of the first half of the show and brought some fire hyping the crowd up for the more upbeat jazzy, older 1975 tunes.

Beginning the second half of the show, the stage lighting changed to more flashy colours to match the atmosphere, beginning the older half of the set, the songs that get all the fans buzzing.

The home crowd was treated with a set showing off the full journey of The 1975. The impressive 24-song setlist saw Manchester lucky enough to get some special songs such as ‘menswear’ and ‘sincerity is scary’, which have not been played at previous gigs.

Photography: Jordan Hughes

During the second half of the show playing the iconic tunes they are known and loved for such as ‘robbers’ and ‘tootimetootime’, ending the set on ‘give yourself a try’. This was rather fitting after watching the journey the audience has just been taken on. Manchester crowds never disappoint, but the atmosphere of watching a local band who have achieved so much is unmatched at The 1975’s gigs.

The four-piece, made up of Healy, Adam Hann, Ross MacDonald and George Daniel, work seamlessly alongside talented session musicians, pulling the show together with percussion and funky saxophone, and giving the 1975 the sound they are known for.

The band proved themselves capable of performing musically at an outstanding standard. Whether you love or hate the unique movie style shows, it is without a doubt that you cannot fault the talent and vocals they project.

About the author / 

Emma Bayley

1 Comment

  1. Charlotte 23rd January 2023 at 5:48 pm -  Reply

    Love!! Wish I had been there

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