The 1975 bring a show within a show to Nottingham

As a die-hard 1975 fan, I jumped at the chance to see them when it was announced that they were coming to my hometown. They certainly did not disappoint.

You would have to have been living under a rock to not have seen the TikTok hype surrounding the tour, which frontman Matty Healy seems to have a love-hate relationship with, and which I tried my utmost to avoid in order to embrace the show authentically with fresh eyes.

I’m going to say it – it was one of the best shows I have ever attended. Conceptually, it was framed as a meta-style ‘show within a show’, likening it to a theatre production .The set was designed as a house, which allowed there to be an intriguing structure to the show. Crawling through televisions and eating raw meat on stage, Healy truly embraced his role of the troubled protagonist… but still took time to ‘break’ character by showcasing his ability to make the show stop and taking time to sincerely chat to the audience, even exclaiming ‘’I don’t know who I am anymore,’’ to distinguish himself from his on-stage persona.

While it has been Matty Healy’s face blasted all over TikTok, appreciation has to be paid to the rest of the band. Seamlessly managing the transition between the slower, more instrumental and mature tracks such as ‘All I Need To Hear’ and ‘Part Of The Band’ to their well-loved, synth-led older tracks like ‘The Sound’, the band members behind the frontman are an integral part of The 1975 puzzle, which Healy took time to recognise.

With an extra-long set, in which they played my personal favourite ‘Menswear’ as their surprise song as well as ‘Paris’ as an added extra, they spanned the entirety of their genre-mixing career. Evoking tears from those in the standing section around me with ‘Be My Mistake’ and ‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’ to getting the crowd dancing with ‘Happiness’ and moshing to ‘Sex’, their ability to connect with their fans with the musical versatility was emphasised. 

My personal favourites were the stripped back moments, where the focus was truly on the stage and not on crowd participation. Healy stood on top of the staged roof singing a solo rendition of ‘I Like America And America Likes Me’ was a truly memorable part of the show, which brought the crowd to a welcomed moment of quiet as they gave the performance their whole attention. And of course fan favourites ‘Robbers’ and ‘Fallingforyou’ brought a wave of nostalgia and tears to audience-members, and are always particularly special to hear live, with TikTok viral ‘About You’ also firmly added to this list now.

Keeping the audience engaged throughout such a long set may be a struggle for some artists, but not for The 1975. With this unique concept of a show within a show, they have clearly reached new heights in their showmanship and creativity, and it’s only set expectations even higher for their next tour. 

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