Thursday, January 26, 2023

A performance like no other: The 1975 fuse beauty and hardship in an intensely unique live show

Notorious for their awe-inspiring performances, The 1975 brought intense energy into their Leeds show this January.

Each moment was unique. Each song sang in such a way that the crowd had no choice but to yell the lyrics at the top of their lungs. Each spoken word filled the room with admiration and utter excitement. As such, the band has set the bar sky-high for any live show in the music industry.

After their incredible support act Bonnie Kemplay, the curtain fell to reveal The 1975’s name projected onto it; the gasps of anticipation and eagerness were audible from light years away. Following what felt like years of stillness, the curtain was lifted to reveal their famous set, consisting of a piano and a door, a sofa and TV sets, a ceiling fan and much more. Looking onto it, the immersion was greater than anything we had seen before as it offered a parallel to the chaotic order incorporated in their songs.

Sporadically entering with their respective instruments, the band entered and the cheers become more and more powerful until their frontman Matty Healy entered, and the crowd went wild. He quickly took out his cigarette packet and placed one between his lips before lighting it, much to the audience’s amusement for this act is often associated with the ‘rockstar aesthetic’ Healy emulates. 

Their opening song was a creation on their new album ‘Being Funny In A Foreign language’ named ‘The 1975’ and was followed by another on the album named ‘Looking for Somebody (to Love)’. The lyrical and musical genius came through in this song as it did with each one that came after it; with the surprising and sometimes confusing lyrics fused with the passionate bond each member evidently shares with one another made for one of the best performances in music history. Healy went from sitting lonesomely at the piano, cigarette in his mouth and wine bottle at his disposal, to sharing the microphone with John Waugh in a wonderfully heart-warming manner within the space of a few minutes. This made for such a dynamic show, filled with sparks of intimacy and closeness alongside moments of utter fixation on the frontman. 

As the set continued, the audience was treated to ‘I’m In Love With You’, ‘All I Need To Hear’ and ‘Sincerity Is Scary’ merging in and out of one another elegantly. A large factor in the smoothness and excitement of the transitions was the way in which each member on stage collaborated to create this illusion of tranquil chaos; it allowed the audience to see a group of people who love each other and their music to such a great extent. The passion they all have for what they do was enormous and incredibly inspiring; they never once performed alone, but became one with the instrument of their lyrics, and with each other. It’s not everyday that one can witness such a bond between people, but on that stage there was a metaphorical ribbon joining them all together, and it made for an ethereal show.

Once Healy had spoken outwards to the audience, climbed on top of the set’s roof and jumped and danced around onstage, he gave us a moment of stillness. He provided a section where he sat at the piano once again and presented his heart and innermost feelings. He talked of not knowing what the show means any longer, nor what it is about. He discussed the topic of masculinity and it becoming an ever-more confusing subject in society; it is this raw honesty that drives fans to admire him wholly. 

As the introduction to the song ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’ began, fans screamed in excitement as the viral trend of his autotunes was soon to be heard live on stage. This is another unique element of the show, in which Healy uses the autotune feature to interact with fans and create a phrase relating to whatever it is they may throw onto the stage. This night the phrase was “don’t like plastic things” and the crowd roared with laughter and cheer to have been a part of this moment live.

Another incredibly moving and almost surreal moment was when fans threw onstage flowers for Healy during the song ‘Paris’. The frontman appeared moved by this gesture, and I can say that witnessing it from the crowd increased these feelings of closeness and unity in the venue. Within this time, it was clear that passion and devotion to music runs through Healy’s veins; he moved as the song’s beat did and never once gave the audience a chance to recover from the emotional overload the song presents, something that captivated the crowd intensely. His entire body became one with the sound and atmosphere he created. 

The energy onstage was unmatched. With collaboration when Healy dropped his pick and Adam handed his over halfway through the song, the acknowledgement Healy gave to the other members on stage, encouraging cheers and claps from the crowd which we were more than happy to provide, and an overall unique and inspiring atmosphere seeped from the stage into the crowd it was heartwarming. Easily one of the best experiences one could hope to partake in. 

Abby Price


Image: Jordan Hughes

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