The 1975 @ Resorts World Arena, 15th January 2023
Billed as the ‘At Their Very Best’ tour, Sunday evening saw indie pop royalty The 1975 returning to a packed out Resorts World Arena in Birmingham in support of their fifth studio album ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’.
As the curtain dropped to rapturous applause following an opening slot from label mate Bonnie Kemplay, the vast stage revealed an ambitious and inventive stage set up featuring a fully furnished house complete with working street lights, TV screens, a working ceiling fan and a rogue Matty Healy taking to the roof at one point.
Throughout the years The 1975’s stage show has consistently evolved to become more original and impressive than the last, and whilst this one was perhaps more muted in terms of it’s show manistic tendencies and more akin to the set of a murder mystery theatre production, the purpose it served was effective beyond it’s initial appearance.
The band took the first half of the show to showcase their new album ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ almost in it’s entirety, peppering in some of the more obscure live fan favourites for good measure including ‘Be My Mistake’, ‘fallingforyou’ and ‘I Like America & America Likes Me’. And it was in this first section of the show that the production elements really helped to elevate the performance, with lead singer Matty Healy rarely seen without a cigarette in his mouth and bottle of wine in his hand. This was coupled with stage hands dressed in white overalls, operating on stage under the impression that the band were part of a TV show which was complemented by thoughtful on screen visuals.
The band found themselves situated on the bottom floor of the house, whilst live session musicians occupied the top floor, of which two new members had been introduced for this touring cycle. This now sees the band using eight musicians on stage which does an excellent job of enriching and widening the sonical scope that the band are capable of producing.
The first section concluded with the band exiting the stage and leaving Healy alone at which point he proceeded to climb into the television leaving the stage empty. To sum up the first hour, there’s lots of talk of meta, fourth walls, musical peaks and troughs and a slight air of confusion from the audience.
But once the band ran onto the stage to begin the second half of the performance, it became instantly clear that that is what’s meant by ‘At Their Very Best’. The following hour proved to be a master-class in live performance, song writing, showmanship, and crowd participation.
Ditching the narrative and themes that were present in the first half, the final hour was a greatest hit set of sorts, opening with If You’re Too Shy, TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME and Chocolate proving most abundantly clear that the band meant business.
From Paris to Robbers, The Sound to Sex, the majority of the sold-out crowd had their wishes granted in terms of setlist choices, with Healy much more present, fluid and engaged throughout the latter half. Whilst the band could be accused of sticking to somewhat of a formula with their most successfully charting singles, one thing that’s not up for debate is their popularity and ability to get a room absolutely bouncing.
Ending with a fab three trio of The Sound, Sex and Give Yourself A Try, what can be concluded is that if you’re lucky enough to see The 1975 on this current run of dates then you most certainly will never ever see a show much like it again.
Review: Dan Earl
Photographs: Jordan Curtis Hughes
Check out our other reviews , album reviews, news and interviews