Live Review: The 1975 – Resorts World Arena, Birmingham 15.01.2023

Jordan Curtis Hughes

As you enter the Resorts World arena on this bitter Sunday evening, it becomes clear that this is an evening A LOT of people have been waiting for; genders & non-genders a like have come dressed in their best Matty Healy outfits and they’re not about to be disappointed by the show. This is a sold out show and the floor standing have been packed in like sardines, not that anyone seems to mind too much. Everything about this night has been planned perfectly, including the music between acts though this isn’t stopping people amusing themselves and others with their phone flashes. As the music changes to something that I’m sure is going to set the tone for the evening, the tensions grows and cheers make their way through the audience. The music comes to an abrupt stop before we’re treated to a snippet of Elvis‘ ‘Love Me Tender‘. The sheet that has been hiding the set drops and gives us all a chance to take in the beautifully built “home” that’s currently in darkness.

A door at the back opens and one-by-one all band members enter the stage. Bassist Ross McDonald turns on all the lamps on stage as he goes and wakes front man Matty from his slumber on the sofa. As everyone takes their place, all attention is immediately on Mr. Healy; everything he does warrants a girlish squeal. He lights a cigarette and hits his first note as a scream from the audience erupts that has to be heard to be believed. Helped along by the set, the first few songs of this insanely long setlist feel like a group of friends who’re just jamming and having a good time whilst creating what has the potential to be the show of the year. Every person on stage makes what they do look easy and effortless though it’s clear they all have a lot of talent. ‘Part Of The Band‘ becomes an easy favourite but you can tell that it’s only going to get easier from here. Our first quip of the night comes in the form of “a thousand love songs, zero bitches” and receives a giggle from everyone in the room. Two songs later and ‘I’m in Love With You‘ sees the volume from this crummy bunch of gig goers rise.

From here, Matty Healy comes out of his drunken/high state and breaks all sorts of 3rd & 4th walls finally acknowledging the audience and revealing this Truman Show kind of feel as crew come out in white coats to move the set around. After ‘All I Need To Hear‘ & ‘Fallingforyou‘, Matty disappears for a minute before reappearing on the roof of the set and serenading us all with ‘I Like America & America Likes Me‘. stealing any part of the show that he didn’t already have. Due to the complexity of the set, there are camera dotted around the stage to show the band doing their thing when the camera person can’t get to them. Some of the angles help make the production feel even more like a home as it gives a sort of CCTV feel to the show. Once Matty is back on the ground, they head straight into ‘About You‘ and the female vocal part of this song has been very well rehearsed by this audience; Matty stops singing as it’s Polly Money‘s time to shine and the room is singing every word back to her as if their lives depend on it. The whole show is all encompassing and we’re not even half way through yet.

After an introduction to the whole band, Ross turns off all the lamps excluding the one closest to Matty Healy as he makes his way off stage, leaving Matty alone with his piano and guitar. The stage hands begin to strip the set off all its niceties continuing with this Truman Show feel. A deafening cheer makes its way through the venue as he sits down on the settee and unbuttons his clean white shirt. Meanwhile a set of 9 old fashioned TVs have been towered together central stage and we hear a snippet of ‘Loving Someone‘ amongst the madness before Matty crawls through a TV. The music comes to an abrupt end  and everything fades to black. Adam Hann heads over an old fashioned telephone pole and flips the power back on, bringing light back into the arena and the rest of the band join him back on stage with Matty now dressed in all black. ‘If You’re Too Shy‘ soon becomes the loudest song of the evening as chants of “maybe I would like you better if you took of your clothes” fills the 10,000+ strong arena. We’re told that the name of this tour is ‘The 1975 at Their Very Best‘ which is a fair statement to say the least.

TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME‘ is what a lot of this crowd have been waiting for but after the first few notes, MH stops the track and says we’re going to start it again – we’re all going to get what we’re after. He quick to let us know that he hates it but he’s going to do it, then we’re all going to have to do it with him; queue every single person in the room screaming “don’t throw menthols on this stage… don’t like menthols” at an exhausted looking Matty Healy. Iconic.

Anyone who isn’t already warmed up is delighted to hear the absolute classic that is ‘Chocolate‘ though the song flies by an we’re back to something more recent. ‘It’s Not Living if it’s Not With You‘ is surprisingly loud, even after one of their original hits, this one seems to be more of a favourite. Matty Healy is one of very few people who can get a sea of over 10,000 two stepping in time with their band – it sure makes for a beautiful sight though the real dancing begins the second ‘Paris‘ start as people lose their mind and move their body in anyway that the music takes them. ‘Somebody Else‘ (like a lot of other songs) is prefaced as being depressing though that is far from the feeling you get when you hear the whole venue sing the first verse to The 1975. Resorts World‘s house lights turn warm as we get to ‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)‘ and perfectly compliment the phone flash lights that are lighting most of the arena – another beautiful sight from the evening. As we get to ‘Love it if We Made it‘, the crowd are making scenes and take the roof off the place, not missing a beat in singing syllable at the top of their lungs. It’s hard to believe that this crowd is still getting louder as the show is over 2 hours long at this point and we still have 3 songs left to go. Matty proves he still has everyones attention by telling them to jump during ‘The Sound‘ and anyone who wasn’t already jumping joins in. ‘Give Yourself a Try‘ is the perfect ending to this show though it’s clear some people are a little worse for wear by the end of the night.

Anyone who missed tickets to this tour missed out on more than just a show; they missed a whole experience. They just don’t do it like this anymore.

Photos by Jordan Curtis Hughes

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