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A glass of whiskey in one hand, a cigarette in the other.
Other than a few aimless rambles between sets, British indie-pop-rock frontman Matt Healy’s message was clear: The 1975 is no less relevant in 2023 than they were in 2013 and the band’s performance at Madison Square Garden was a testament to their continued musical gifts.
Fans poured in with cult-like rage for a Tuesday night, some bearing rectangular tattoos of the band’s album cover, others still half-dressed in work clothes, taking no chance of missing the man who teased a “indefinite hiatus” after they wrap their ‘Still… At Their Very Best’ tour.
The crowd – a hodgepodge of teenage girls, married couples, and some likely single wannabe-groupies – was certainly buzzing. Healy’s closest followers live for his controversies. There was his fervent fling with Taylor Swift over the summer, and then a social media reckoning over offensive podcast remarks. Not to mention, his history of pulling fans on stage for a slobbery smooch (he skipped the make-out sessions for this show).
But, nothing lasts forever, as Healy has taught us. Attention quickly turned to the opener, rising star Dora Jar. The 27-year-old has an celestial, airy voice that melts down arena. Yet, her stage presence couldn’t be further from ghostly. You could hear a pin drop as she breathed into the microphone and sang like the calm before a storm.
That storm was Healy, banging through a door and grabbing his guitar, much to the excitement of the roaring crowd. He glided around the floor effortlessly – an unpretentious set designed like an unfinished bachelor pad loft complete with sporadically placed furniture and a spiral staircase to nowhere. Lead guitarist Adam Hann, bass player Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel, took their places.
Healy and co. opened with a hit from their fourth studio album, “The 1975.” The eponymous song drew its lyrics from a speech given by environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, on civil disobedience. “Looking for Somebody to Love” played like a masterpiece; commanding and confident. The crowd then cheered for “Part of the Band,” a playful rock serenade broken up by an epic saxophone interlude. It was impossible to resist chiming along for “You Look So Cool” before Healy took down the volume and brought on an unexpected guest.
Everyone fell silent watching Healy’s 71-year-old father, Tim, step onto the stage. The retired English actor settled right in, hardly as impressed with himself as the crowd was, and began singing “All I Need to Hear” (with enough bravado to humble his own singer son). The slow jam was an unexpected turn from the punkier side of the evening, playing like a desperate love song with romantic lyrics “Cause it all means nothing, my dear If I can’t be holding you near” sticking in your ear. Outstretched arms from the crowd waved shining lights for the surprise guest.
But the show was not over. Spotlight turned back to what appeared to be Healy, but was actually a replica of his naked body stretched out on a turf platform on the other side of the arena. An eerie piano melody reverberated through the Garden as the real Healy rose through the platform to lay intimately beside his doppelgänger. The whole scene looked like something out of a dream – or nightmare – or psychedelic trip.
Healy disappeared through the grass and then reappeared, this time, with his guitar to sing “Be My Mistake.” A montage of fast-paced clips ran across the screen – TikTok’s, YouTube vids, and of course, outlandish tweets about the Proud Boys and Florida. The singer has not been shy expressing his political views, specifically his abomination of far right-wing content.
As the groove faded, the rockstar rolled into his final stunt of the night – what appeared at first to be a genuine apology for some of his mystifying antics. “I think it’s important to take inventory of yourself,” Healy shouted between swigs. “I apologize to those people and I pledge to be better moving forward.” He made a snuffy note about not being taken too literally, before adding, “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself…” as he made his impassioned plea, an ad for the popular online therapy service, Better Help, was projected behind him with the message “75% off your first session. Use the code Sorry75.”
And in classic Matt Healy-fashion, it was all an act. “I’m only joking,” the singer cackled, before the screen wiped away. Healy continued unfazed, jerking his head up-and-down to rock out to the night’s final anthems, “I love it if we made it,” and “People.” The lights flashed off at 10:30, and The 1975 dropped their instruments as if to say, we don’t need to impress anyone. Why? Because they’re still… at their very best.
If you’re considering buying tickets to one of their final shows, do so now. The set is an angsty, ethereal mind trip, staging is top-notch, and Healy’s shock factor does not disappoint. Ticket prices won’t break the bank either (the vodka lemonade and sweatshirt cost more than my seats).
In fact, some of them are only $6 before fees on Vivid Seats.
Still on the fence? Don’t forget that the band has no indication of when they will be back on stage.
You can find tickets for all nine upcoming “Still…At Their Very Best” concerts right here.
|The 1975 tour dates||Ticket prices
|Nov. 17 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC, CA||$13|
|Nov. 18 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, CA||$72|
|Nov. 20 at the Budweiser Gardens in London, ON, CA||$22|
|Nov. 22 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI||$46|
|Nov. 26 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT||$18|
|Nov. 27 at the ExtraMile Arena in Boise, ID||$6|
|Nov. 29 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, CA||$32|
|Dec. 1 at the Moda Center in Portland, OR||$19|
|Dec. 2 at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA||$19|
|Jan. 13, 2024 at the iHeart Radio ALTer Ego in Anaheim, CA||$86|
|Feb. 14, 2024 at the O2 Arena in London, GB||$98|
(Note: The New York Post confirmed all above prices at the publication time. All prices are in US dollars, subject to fluctuation and include additional fees at checkout.)
Vivid Seats is a verified secondary market ticketing platform, and prices may be higher or lower than face value, depending on demand.
They offer a 100% buyer guarantee that states your transaction will be safe and secure and your tickets will be delivered prior to the event.
On Saturday, Jan. 13, The 1975 will headline at Anaheim’s Honda Center along with some of the biggest names in the game for the annual one-day rock fest.
Need tix ASAP?
For a closer look at all the music that the band performed at MSG on Tuesday, Nov. 14, here’s their set list, courtesy of Set List FM:
01.) “The 1975 (BFIAFL)”
02.) “Looking for Somebody (to Love)”
04.) “Part of the Band”
05.) “Sincerity Is Scary”
06.) “Oh Caroline”
07.) “I’m in Love With You”
08.) “A Change of Heart”
09.) “An Encounter”
11.) “All I Need to Hear” (with Tim Healy on vocals)
13.) “About You” (with Carly Holt)
15.) “Be My Mistake” (Acoustic; Matty solo on B-Stage)
17.) “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” (Duet with Polly Money)
Still… At Their Very Best
18.) “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)”
20.) “Heart Out”
21.) “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)”
22.) “The Sound”
23.) “Somebody Else”
25.) “Love It If We Made It”
27.) “Give Yourself a Try”
Amped up for live shows but don’t know who’s on the road?
Well, here are just five massive tours that might strike your fancy these next few months.