Review: The 1975 @ Eagle Bank Arena
The 1975 performed at Eagle Bank Arena on November 9 as part of a North American fall tour supporting their sophomore album, "I Like It When You Sleep, for You are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It." The band's latest release came after a whirlwind worldwide tour promoting their debut self-titled album. In just three short years, The 1975 went from opening for The Neighbourhood in 300 capacity venues on their first American tour, to selling out arenas in Indonesia. As the extensive travelling and performances wore the band out mentally and physically, The 1975's cult fan base grew concerned for their well-being while anticipating their next move.
Bringing in 2016, fans were on the edge of their seat after the announcement of their second album along with two new singles, "Love Me" and "Ugh!." In February, The 1975 dropped ILIWYS and an entirely new wave of craze poured in, so it was no surprise when the band announced a tour filled to the brim with 10k+ capping venues. The roll out for ILIWYS and the venues on this tour assured fans that this would be a new era of The 1975. And though I didn't think it was, I grew more and more excited during the months leading up to November 9.
Unfortunately, the announcement of our President-elect Donald Trump came the same day as this concert. Tensions were high and morale was low every where I turned, to say the least. I was paralyzed by a feeling of hopelessness all day until The 1975 hit the stage. The band opened with a new version of their self-titled track, that appeared again as the opening track on their second album. The 1975's unabashedly self-obsessed front man, Matty Healy, glided from one side of the stage to the next, full of smiles and throwing waves around the room like it was his birthday. After performing new tracks from ILIWYS like "Love Me," Ugh!," "A Change of Heart," and "This Must Be My Dream," The 1975 did something that I have never seen them do at any of their other ten shows I have been to. The originally four-piece band have added two touring members (one of which joined on board as saxophonist a few years back) and performed title track ILIWYS, The track is heavily production-based and threw me for a loop as I have always known them to use their instrumental tracks as intermission music live. There are few lyrics in the song, so the live performance was especially stimulating paired with a detailed light show happening behind the band. In a truly mesmerizing moment, the bright lights grew more and more until they overtook the figures on stage while their harmonious voices echoed "Before you go, (please don't go), turn the big light off."
The 1975 next performed "Undo," a standout track from their second EP Sex. As the song started, there seemed to be simultaneous conniptions that occurred around the venue. This is the first tour that The 1975 have ever performed songs from their EP's that were not singles. The band admitted that they added and will continue to add older songs from their discography to upcoming tours because of their significance to a large group of their fan base. This was a treat for seasoned fans in the audience, myself included.
Being the slightly controversial but totally aware group that they are, I was expecting a few words on the current political state we are in, given that they were performing just minutes outside of our nation's capitol. Front man Matty Healy delivered words of encouragement we all needed to hear that night: "The America we know is a young America, a liberal America, a compassionate America, a socially responsible America. It is an America who doesn't react to fear with anger and doesn't react to anger with fear, especially. It is also a Black America, a Muslim America, a Gay America and today is a dark day. We feel it as well." Check out his full speech below.
The 1975 appropriately followed up the speech with their track "Loving Someone." As the band played, it was the most emotional I had felt since the announcement of President-elect Trump. The energy of the room completely shifted. I looked around the venue and saw people dancing, singing, crying, hugging. The seats were covered in colors of the rainbow flag, reflecting from the stage lighting. In this moment, I knew that no matter what was indicated about America from the election, within these four walls stood the America I know, the America I love, and the future of our nation. This moment gave me brief solace in a dark time and showed me, once again, love will always prevail.
After the cathartic moment, a few more songs from ILIWYS were performed and the band left the stage only to be called right back by an unsatisfied crowd itching for an encore. The group saved the best for last, ending their set with performances of "Medicine," a scenic track they made for the Ryan Gosling movie "Drive," a gospel-driven ILIWYS track "If I Believe You," their breakout single "Chocolate," and the obvious closer "Sex."