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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The 1975 is truly “Still…At Their Very Best”

Emma Sutton / Hilltop Views
The 1975 carried on thier “Still…At Their Very Best” tour playing “Change of Heart” from their 2016 album “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” at the iconic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California on Sept. 2, 2023.

As the lights flicker at the Hollywood Bowl, the curtain is dropped, revealing the interiors of a home staged with a couch, chairs and many lamps. A starry background illuminates the silhouettes of the band members sans their lead singer. A car is heard pulling up and locks with a click. Someone knocks at the door of the staged house; lead singer Matty Healy enters the spotlight. 

As he greets all his “house guests,” a soft piano drawls on in the background, and the crowd cheers wildly. Healy sits at a piano and begins playing the opening notes to “The 1975” from their recent album “Being Funny In A Foreign Language.”

The 1975 has been one of my favorite bands since I first discovered them in 2014. I was able to see them live in 2022 for their “At Their Very Best” tour. After witnessing the incredible performance, I knew I needed to see them again and, luckily for me, they began a second US and UK tour in September 2023: “Still…At Their Very Best.”

“At Their Very Best” tour was widely watched but also criticized for its take on what a concert should be. The show was very meta and made comments on politics and societal norms. “Still…At Their Very Best” tour was a continuation of these themes, but ultimately poked a bit of fun at its predecessor.

“I like the pure performance art,” The 1975 fan Zander Tate said. “Sometimes there’s a story between songs, I think Rosalia does that really well. But she’s still at the end of the day just playing her songs, whereas The 1975 is truly being different. I think it shows more of the character and the purpose of the band. Matty’s always done that. You don’t know what to expect when you come to a show. You can go to 99% of a band’s shows and they’re going to play their songs and (The 1975) did something different.”

The set is cut in two, with the first half featuring songs from their most recent album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” along with some of the band’s older tunes sprinkled in.

Midway through the first half of the top act, the problematic frontman spoke earnestly about his struggles with cancel culture and mental health. This earnest conversation quickly turned hilarious when Healy began reading an ad for the online therapy website Better Help, causing the audience to erupt in laughter. 

For their final song of the first half, “About You,” guitarist Adam Hann’s wife, Carly Holt-Hann, made a surprise appearance to sing her verse on the hit song. Once the lights went out, main band members Hann, George Daniel and Ross MacDonald, accompanied by auxiliary members John Waugh, Polly Money, Jamie Squire and Gabi King, left the stage. Healy did what he does during “At Their Very Best”—he feels himself up, does a few push-ups and crawls through a TV to signify a transition in the set.  

Upon returning to the stage, Healy is alone save a life-size form of his naked self lying peacefully asleep on the black leather couch. Healy sits down next to himself and performs “Be My Mistake.” Then, as people in white lab coats reset the stage, a spoof of a political ad featuring Healy plays on screen. 

After the scantily clad interlude, the band reemerges to begin the second half of the show. The bottom of the concert featured songs spanning The 1975’s four previous albums, like “Love Me,” “Heart Out” and “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not WIth You).” Jumping from upbeat to depressing, they wowed the Los Angeles audience with versatility. 

Matty Healy is the star of this show. A third of the way through the second half of the show, he not-so-subtly hints at the personal struggles of his pandemic experience and how social media is harming human interaction. 

In a longwinded speech, Healy stares at his phone and speaks in a distracted tone about how “social media teaches us that we’re nothing more than a collection of performed weaknesses and adopted pathologies to be mined for sympathy from total strangers, but this isn’t true! The best place to look for affirmation and love is from your in-person friends and family.” Healy says all of this while a screen mirrors videos of Subway Surfers and slime TikToks play over his speech. 

The band performed an acoustic version of their song “Paris.” They ended the concert with a song unlike any other in their repertoire. “People” is an angry, politically charged punk song from their 2020 album “Notes On A Conditional Form.” Ending with this electric song left the audience wanting more.

The “Still…At Their Very Best” tour feels like a moment framed in time. It’s an era to be remembered whether you like the band or not. As someone who has followed this band since they were 11 years old, I wasn’t going to miss it. If you’re considering flying cross-country to see a band you love, do it. People may think you’re crazy, but it will be a lasting memory you won’t forget.

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About the Contributor
Emma Sutton
Emma Sutton, Staff Writer
Emma Sutton is a junior a majoring in writing and rhetoric with a concentration in journalism and digital media. It is her second semester writing for Hilltop Views and first semester as a staff writer. She loves writing about all things pop culture but also has a soft spot for baseball.

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