Ok, so that was an experience.
I’ve read a lot about Matt Healy’s 'strange' antics in the news recently but I really wasn’t prepared for what was about to hit me during the first half of The 1975’s gig at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on Monday evening.
As the curtain fell, the crowd was shown an extravagant set up of a normal looking home. The band members were introduced one by one with Matt appearing by waking up on a sofa and lighting a cigarette.
Read more: Lewis Capaldi's spectacular night at Leeds First Direct Arena review
Cue lots of screams from teenage girls and the beginning of a journey ‘into Matt Healy’s mind’.
The first half of the show was a weird affair, I’m not going to lie. Matt swaggered about on stage with a hip flask and a bottle of wine as the band meandered their way through the whole of their most recent album ‘Being Funny in a Foreign Language’.
It can be unusual to see a band play every song of an album back to back but that’s exactly what they did. It meant there were some lesser-known hits mixed among songs that have received more radio airplay, such as Oh Caroline and I’m In Love With You.
It definitely felt like I was watching the Matt Healy show. There was little interaction with the audience and the only speaking segment during the first half of the show came when the stage cut to black, all the lights came up and he began talking directly into a camera following him around on stage.
As they were ‘resetting’ to film a new scene he told the crowd about the bizarre concept we were watching as he explained that this is a construct of which he had complete control of. To emphasise this point he ordered the film crews to stop doing what they were doing and they all froze on stage.
It was odd. It felt like I was watching a theatre production, or performance art, rather than a music gig, with Matt Healy front and centre. As we headed towards the switch to the ‘At Their Very Best’ part of the gig, the weirdness was ramped up to a whole new level as Matt Healy slowly unbuttoned his shirt and...touched himself provocatively.
TV screens showed the likes of Vladimir Putin, Prince Andrew and Liz Truss before Matt went to the front of the stage and ate a piece of raw meat. He has got form for this, having done the same at previous gigs on the tour. I was still shocked though and didn’t know where to look as it felt a bit cringeworthy and sickening. Thankfully, the oddities of this whole segment soon ended as he made his way towards a TV, did some push ups and then crawled through said TV to signal our departure from Matt’s eccentric mind as we moved into the next part of the show.
When the band reappeared, the elements of a ‘normal gig’ resumed, with The 1975 playing hit after hit. Matt was a completely different person as he dropped the act once and for all, with If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know) kicking off the second half of the concert.
TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME followed, with Matt giving the crowd a ticking off for chucking plastic cups on stage, before the likes of Chocolate, It's Not Living (If It's Not With You) and Paris, with the latter chosen after he asked the crowd to choose between Menswear, Change of Heart, Medicine and Paris.
More The 1975 classics followed. Robbers, Somebody Else and I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes) before Love It If We Made It, The Sound and Sex. Give Yourself A Try brought the show to an end and it was time to dash to platform 17B to get the last train back to Sheffield.
It really was a tale of two shows, and I definitely enjoyed them more ‘At Their Very Best’. I get that artists have got to put themselves out there by exploring new concepts and exerting a bit of zaniness along the way but the first half was very, very odd.
Matt Healy has previously said he is pretentious and won’t apologise for it, but the Matt Healy show we witnessed in the first half of the gig did feel like a bit too much. The second half, however, was what we wanted - all the hits without the theatrics and the self-absorption.
- The 1975 (BFIAFL)
- Looking for Somebody (to Love)
- Part of the Band
- Oh Caroline
- I'm in Love With You
- (Charlie Chaplin cover)
- All I Need to Hear
- Sincerity Is Scary
- I Like America & America Likes Me
- (Real World Version)
- About You
- When We Are Together
- At Their Very Best
- If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)
- It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)
- An Encounter
- Somebody Else
- I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
- Love It If We Made It
- The Sound
- Give Yourself a Try
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