For their Australian tour, the band expertly curated a setlist that showcased and highlighted their catalogue of music.
Image: Jordan Curtis Hughes.
For the past five months, social media has been rife with clips and visuals of The 1975 embarking on their The 1975 at Their Very Best world tour. Last night, the band made their long-awaited return to Sydney, having last visited weeks before the world went into lockdown in 2020. With two new albums in tow, it was a grand return to Super Aware Theatre for the synth-pop luminaries with American singer-songwriter Wallice on support duties.
Cameras followed frontman Matty Healy who gave an opening monologue as he made his way on to the stage, sharing with the crowd “this is show one of 'make people like Matty'”. Presenting a more pulled back version of their ‘house’ inspired staging, Healy is situated within a cosy living-room inspired set and shrouded in a spotlight as he picks up the guitar to open the show with an acoustic rendition of Be My Mistake. The intimate opening number was a nice change of pace from the usual bombastic opening song you’d find at a live show, as dulcet guitar melodies and Healy’s inimitable vocals reverberated throughout the theatre. Midway through the song, he looks down at his setlist to find bandmate George Daniel had pulled a practical joke on him, changing specific words within song titles to “cum”. He shares some song titles, some personal favourite were ‘It’s Not Living (If it’s Not With Cum) and ‘Cúm’ as a replacement for Paris. “That’s really sweet, they’re trying to cheer me up because I’ve been going through it,” he says prompting a resounding ‘aww’ from the audience. “No, I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me, I’m fine.”
As his fellow band mates join him on stage, the pace picks up with Looking For Somebody (To Love) and UGH!. Both songs incite rapturous cheers and sing-a-longs from the crowd, with the former finding Healy seated within his pseudo-living room and John Waugh delivering saxophone melodies that incited one audience member close to me to shout “I’m a slut for a sax solo!” Oh Caroline, If You’re Too Shy Let Me Know and I’m In Love With You all had the audience on their feet, singing and dancing along, before tracks like fallingforyou and I Always Wanna Die offered more downtempo moments that allowed Healy’s vulnerability to creep through. Whilst he presents a usually strong and unbothered bravado, there was a softer side to Healy’s presence on stage last night. He was still smoking ciggies and throwing back a bottle of what appeared to be wine and occasionally strolled the stage with a flask, but fleeting moments where he’d contemplatively stare into the crowd or joke along with the audience allowed for a real in-the-moment connection to be formed.
Image: Jordan Curtis Hughes.
The staging and lighting throughout the night fuelled the sonic and conceptual exploration of the show. Beams of light flooded from the stage during fallingforyou, lighting up the audience and feeling almost like a spiritual experience when paired with Healy’s falsetto vocals. Overhead LED panels pulsated throughout songs to match the beat, at times remaining constant to immerse the stage in golden-hued tones that contrasted the stark white set. One of the most engaging visuals of the evening was the shadowing of each band member projected onto the main screen during Love It If We Made It. This technique created such a grand atmosphere, punctuated by the driving beat and the crowds impassioned chanted vocals. The audience also got the chance to become involved with the bands latest video series, A theatrical performance of an intimate moment. He shared he has a dream sequence he’d like to film, which he describes as Vanilla Sky-esque. A moment of history for any fan of The 1975.
The band played through their cult hits and fan favourites, including Robbers, She’s American, It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You) and Paris, much to the delight of their devoted Sydney audience. In a sea of standout moments, songs such as Somebody Else, Part Of The Band and The Sound proved to peek out just ahead. Healy let the crowd take the lead for the first verse of Somebody Else, before his enchanting vocals cut in. It’s clear he has great control and can effortlessly move between the light and shade of his vocals, eighty minutes into their two hour set. Plus there’s something about a sold-out crowd shouting “fuck that get money” that is truly unparalleled. Part Of The Band saw the frontman take on the role of cinematographer, as he took hold of one of the stage cameras to offer unique close up shots of himself and the band, before saying of their songs, “you can’t take them literally, like, Medicine and all that kind of shit it’s all a metaphor. But you still can apply it to like your mrs or your boyfriend or some shit.” He then assures the crowd they don’t need to jump around and can just do the standard left to right sway, adding “it’s white people music.” Later on he commanded the crowd to jump during the euphoric The Sound, which created a vivid shared experience during the night.
The nostalgia rang through on Sex, one of their first hit singles, before closing the show with Give Yourself A Try, providing a perfect ending to a wonderful evening of live music. Throughout their set, each band member showcased their skills as multi-instrumentalists, switching between synths and rhythm instruments, bringing an unmatched level of professionalism to the stage. For their Australian tour, the band expertly curated a setlist that showcased and highlighted their extensive catalogue of music, even with its morphing nature for each show. You could chart the evolution of their sound and how their earlier work influences their current output. Healy is as enigmatic as ever, captivating attention with his luring and endearing-meets-effervescent performance. After a full and texturally rich performance, it’s fair to say The 1975 are well and truly at their very best.
Images: Jordan Curtis Hughes.
THE 1975 ‘AT THEIR VERY BEST’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
Saturday 15 April 2023 – Riverstage, Brisbane
Sunday 16 April 2023 – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney FINAL TICKETS