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Concert Review: The 1975 start off slow, finish strong in Columbus

The 1975 returned to Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 3, playing Nationwide Arena to a sold-out crowd of die-hard fans. With the recent controversies the band has faced thanks to their frontman Matty Healy, the energy in the room was certainly palpable, as many were curious as to what would come out of the singer’s mouth.

However, the show was not like their previous performances. Instead, the band created an immersive theater experience, using a stage setup that looked like the inside of a 1950s nuclear family-esque house. The introduction to the setlist was quite theatrical as each member of The 1975 entered the stage.

Of course, Healy led the group out, and the crowd erupted into screams. The stage lit up like a Christmas tree, with beautiful lighting imitating the stars outside of the house. Then the group went straight into their first song “The 1975” from their most recent album, “Being Funny In A Foreign Language.”

Healy’s piano playing matched with the rest of the instrumentation made the opening song seem more meaningful than most, especially as the crowd watched in awe. Following this came more songs from the album, including “Looking For Somebody (To Love),” “Happiness” and “Part Of The Band.” While all those songs were good live, the band didn’t seem too full of energy during them, nor did the crowd, which made the first part of the set lackluster.

Luckily, The 1975 knew their audience, transitioning into “Sincerity Is Scary,” “Oh Caroline” and “I’m In Love With You,” all songs that had high energy and saw Healy strut around the stage, waving to the crowd and encouraging them to do a call and response. As per usual, the singer walked around with a flask in hand, his signature move on stage that many fans weren’t afraid to laugh at.

One of the best parts of the set came with “A Change Of Heart” and the beloved “Robbers.” Hearing the latter track live was a moment I had been waiting for since I first heard this song back in middle school, and you could feel all the other former middle schoolers in the room swoon as soon as the intro to the track started playing. Some fans cried while others screamed the lyrics, “You look so cool,” at the top of their lungs, and that was symbolic of what The 1975 means to people.

The band played “I Like America & America Likes Me” and “You” by surprise, as they’ve been switching up their setlist every night. The setting changed during those songs, with a moon rising above the house and Healy climbing to the roof to bask in its light. Then it changed again to a bright pink for the latter track, reminiscent of The 1975’s early days.

The weirdest part of the night was during “Be My Mistake,” where Healy laid down next to a replica of his naked body, crying. Even though this song is one of the band’s best, it was honestly just creepy and made no sense to the plot of the show which all fans seemed to agree with. 

After that weirdness finally came the songs all fans were here for. The group performed “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know),” “Heart Out” and “It’s Not Living( If It’s Not With You),” all songs that almost every The 1975 fan knows by heart. With the set behind them flashing bright colors, the room exploded into cheers as the band let loose and grew more comfortable with the crowd.

“The Sound” and “Somebody Else” followed, and everyone was captivated by Healy’s spot-on vocals and guitar playing. Soon after, the band paused to take a moment to thank the crowd, as well as to explain the purpose of the concert. Healy said the show is all about being chronically online and how that plays into his persona as a musician. The theme shined through, proving somewhat to fans that maybe the singer is moving on from his lack of a filter.

A fan then requested the band to play “UGH!,” and one could visibly the pit shake and move around as The 1975 played the nostalgic guitar riff. Although, my favorite part of the night came shortly after with “Love It If We Made It.” Healy screamed into the microphone as images of police brutality, pro-choice supporters and climate disasters went in and out on the screen, blasting the audience with bright reds and greens.

It was a moment of release for many people in the crowd, including myself, and the band did an amazing job of performing it live. Next came “Sex” and “Give Yourself A Try,” two songs that perfectly helped close out the rest of the show. Fans jumped around and screamed the lyrics, which echoed throughout the arena.

Last came “People,” and The 1975 migrated to a B-stage closer to the back of the arena. A hardcore song, Healy once again screamed his heart out as he sang of the world ending which honestly everyone in the room could sympathize with. Letting the crowd take over most of the song was a heartfelt way to end the show, especially after Healy recently announced The 1975 would be taking an indefinite hiatus after their tour ends.

Overall, The 1975 may have started slowly in Columbus but ended up regaining their energy and charisma over time, making it perhaps one of the best live music acts to come to the city this year.


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