The O2 Arena, London
Following the huge success of their 2016 album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, Wilmslow born band The 1975 embarked on their first headline UK arena tour, with the 16th December show being the first show of the tour to sell out.
It was a chilly December night in London, but that didn’t stop 100s of young fans from queuing for hours to secure a good spot for the hugely anticipated show. This was the second London date on the tour, and there were a good handful of fans who remained overnight at the venue to queue for the second show. There wasn’t an empty seat in the arena and the atmosphere was bubbly.
The NME 2016 Album of the Year winners chose The Japanese House (aka Amber Bain) as their support act, like they did on their previous UK tour in March. The 21-year-old performed 8 songs, including songs from her most recent EP Swim Against The Tide. The Buckinghamshire born artist credits The 1975 as co-producers for some of her music, so it was ideal that she was to warm-up for them. The upbeat vibes from Cool Blue and Good Side In got parts of the audience dancing, but the rest of the set provided a chilled vibe.
For 15 minutes, unlike most concerts where songs are played before the band come onto stage, there was a humming noise in the arena which gradually got louder and louder. This continued until the lights in the arena dimmed along with the humming, and the screens lit up with a static effect. The first song from both of the studio albums The 1975 starting coming out of the speakers, before the band appeared on the stage to rapturous screams from the young audience. Suddenly, the band began their first song, Love Me, whilst lead singer Matty Healy introduces the band as his favourite band.
The crowd were lively and Healy was clearly enjoying himself on stage with some groovy dance moves. The band managed to get through a very impressive 24 song set list in little under 2 hours whilst the audience danced their way through. The set list consisted songs from both of their studio albums, including rare performances of Undo and Milk. Not many bands have the song range which The 1975 have, with upbeat dance-rock songs such as She’s American, ranging to the songs with very little to no lyrics in which you just had to watch, listen and admire the musical brilliance from the four Manchester musicians.
A moment which really touched the audience was Healy’s speech before Loving Someone. Healy cried for ‘compassion and understanding’ following what happened during the Brexit campaign and the US Elections. “The thing is, I know it’s very sad to see all of these young voices of progression and change have been drowned out by these regressive ideals. A lot of these people who’ve voted against what we stand for, they feel so disenfranchised by both sides of political systems so they felt like that was the right thing to do. If we’re young and we’re liberal and we’re compassionate and we’re muslim and we’re black and we’re gay and whatever, if we are that then it’s our responsibility to be compassionate, to listen to everybody, listen to their concern and move things forward. You are our people and we love you so f*cking much, you have no idea. This song is about loving someone.” The speech was welcomed by screams and applauses from the 21,000 people strong fans.
Furthermore, Healy instructed the audience to refrain from using their phones to take videos of the song fallingforyou so that they could “Be a person” and admire the moment of the song as “The visual memory of the next 3 and a half minutes will be better than a video on your iPhone.” Very fittingly, a couple got engaged during this song and Healy jumped off stage to congratulate the couple and take a selfie with them.
Before the tour, the band stated that: “The shows will form part of a series of concerts that will be toured worldwide, with expanded visuals and a brand new set list including songs that have never been played live. The 1975’s constantly evolving performance will fuse art and technology to create a unique live experience” and they really didn’t disappoint. The stage was taken over with several screens which displayed different visuals for each song which were stunning and reflected the song very well. The show really was a unique live experience as promised by the band.
The gig was concluded with a 4 song encore, beginning with Medicine where the arena was lit up with phone lights and lighters. This was followed by If I Believe You which felt very spiritual with the choir vocalists involved and the show was ended with arguable the band’s two most popular songs, Chocolate and The Sound. It was an energetic ending to what was an awe-inspiring set list.