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The 1975 are Completely, Undoubtedly, Still At Their Very Best

By Roshni Khatri | March 11, 2024

“Why are you so obsessed, who even are The 1975?” 

My college roommate didn’t understand why  I was traveling back to my hometown for my second 1975 concert in a year. I saw them in Toronto for their At Their Very Best tour, and headed back to the same city, and same venue, to see them for their Still… At Their Very Best tour at Scotiabank Arena on November 18th 2023. 

The 1975’s fifth album Being Funny In A Foreign Language, released in October 2022. Over a year later, the band is still performing an incredible two-hour set, combining their newest album and classic, original ‘75 tunes, proving that even though it’s been 12 years since the start of the band, they are Still At Their Very Best.

The four band members - Matty Healy, George Daniels, Adam Hann and Ross MacDonald - were joined on stage by musicians Polly Money, John Waugh, Rebekah Rayner and Jamie Squire. Aside from their musical skills, it is clear everyone on the tour are performers, and stopped at nothing to put on an incredible show for the audience. Behind the giant curtain (with their logo projected onto it), the interior of a house, built complete with individual rooms, furniture, lights, and a stairway, leads nowhere. 

Side stage view of the 1975 stage with the open staircase and house
Image: Roshni Khatri

The opening sequence remained the same from the first tour: the band members slowly walk on stage, turning on lamps as they move about the space to get to their instruments  all while the projection screens display their names. The crowds’ screams are deafening as the camera pans to the front man: Matty Healy. I feel compelled to share that the crowd did get any quieter for the rest of the 2 hour show. 

Of course, a Still.. At Their Very Best show would not be complete without the infamous Consumption interlude. Consumption is the intermission piece that reflects the meaning of the theatrical performance the band is showcasing. In an Variety Interview, Healy has explained the show is representative of discussion of being a rock star, the persona and redemption that comes with that, with Consumption being the most obvious example of this theme in the show. 

On their first tour, Consumption included Healy touching himself on a couch, downing a bottle of wine, eating raw meat, doing shirtless pushups and climbing through TV’s that had various political figures on screen, all of which are interpreted as a visual representation and a direct insight into the toxic masculinity and isolation crisis their fifth album Being Funny In A Foreign Language, and many of their songs touched on. By being alone on stage, doing things that are primarily associated as incredibly masculine, then climbing into a mass media machine encourages the audience to dive further into the complexity of modern society and the human experience.

In true Matty Healy fashion, the “Still At Their Very Best” Consumption was Healy lying next to a completely naked silicone version of himself in the fetal position on B stage - before transitioning into singing “Be My Mistake”. While there is no official rhyme or reason that Healy would do this, I believe that it’s a take on male vulnerability and being self-exposed –  a direct juxtaposition to the toxic masculinity and isolation that was previously showcased. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure: it's a classic moment the crowd was waiting for.

Other 1975 show classics include the moments of real connection between the audience and the band during their second act in the show. Between Matty Healy’s request for the audience to jump up and down during “The Sound” - that has been a staple for years, and screaming ‘selling petrol’ as a chant during the second verse of “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” brings an undeniable electric energy to the arena. It’s nothing short of magical seeing twenty-thousand people living in the moment, dancing carefreely, and truly just enjoying music.

Side stage view of the 1975 set with blue and purple hues
Image: Roshni Khatri

Ultimately, the Still At Their Very Best tour can very accurately be described in one simple phrase - ‘for the fans’. Every single aspect of the show felt catered to long time fans, while also keeping newer fans engaged. Nods to the band’s earlier eras let older fans reminisce and younger fans truly experience the 1975. Setlist choices including “A Change of Heart,” “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America (with Polly on vocals),” “Sincerity is Scary,” and “Heart Out” truly revived the 2014 Tumblr girl inside me. The Toronto show closed out with a performance of “People,” the first track from Notes on a Conditional Form, which allowed newer fans to truly see a different side of The 1975. 

The fan interactions, like all ‘75 shows, was top tier. From encouraging the audience to introduce ourselves to each other, to playing into social political discussion, Healy delivered a monologue about “how [in the world] everyone joins together for something that they disagree on, but we are all here because we agree on something, and that is really special.” It is worth mentioning during Healy’s speech Subway Surfers and slime videos played on screen in an effort to “keep the audience engaged.” But the best example of fan engagement, and my personal favorite moment from the evening, was hearing “Ballad of Me and My Brain” at the request of a fan. 

Thinking back to the question my roommate asked me as I departed for Toronto, I can only truly give one answer: It's hard not to be obsessed with The 1975. 

There are very few bands that can entertain for two hours without a bored audience. There are very few bands that span over ten years, multiple generations, and still maintain their fanbase and have the capability to sell out arenas. If the Toronto show proved one thing, it's’ that The 1975 are still, completely, undoubtedly, Still At Their Very Best. 


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