After queuing for a grand total of three hours and 46 minutes, the doors finally opened to Amalie Arena, hosting The 1975’s “Still…At Their Very Best” tour. I felt as if I had been transported back to 2013—fans everywhere harnessed an emo Tumblr aesthetic for tonight’s performance. Donning satin chokers, Doc Martens and their favorite thrifted leather jacket, the crowd packed into the pit, and I attempted to find my place. Regardless of the humid Tampa weather, we were dressing to fit the aesthetic.
Then the curtain dropped, revealing a scene depicting a sky of twinkling stars behind a house. Street lamps flickered with hazy smoke as classical piano music filled the entire arena. Various crew members began decorating the home as if they inhabited the set until a knock was heard. Matty Healy, the band’s lead singer, had entered the stage. He took his seat at the piano “downstairs,” and began plunking out “The 1975,” which is coincidentally the opening of their 2022 alternative hit album “Being Funny In A Foreign Language” and previous albums. In the past, the band has created a new rendition of “The 1975,” slightly altering it to fit their current style at the time. “I’m sorry if you’re living and you’re 17,” Healy repeats over and over again, empathizing with teenagers growing up burdened by social media and self-hatred. In the past, he joked that his music had an “apocalyptic sense of being a teenager in a major key,” and this song reflects that sentiment. The music swelled to a crescendo, automatically leading into “Looking for Somebody (to Love),” for which Healy grabbed a red electric guitar and immediately got the crowd jumping. It felt like emotional whiplash in the best way possible.
“Robbers,” a hit off of their self-titled debut album, put the audience in a trance. For this romantic song about a lustful yet melancholic bad boy, Healy belted every note into the microphone, causing an uproar among the fans. Fitting with the lyrics’ imagery of twirling revolvers and passionate affairs, the atmosphere filled with smoke as the lights dimmed for this moody number. Romanticising robbery and teenage angst, Healy continued with the iconic bridge: “And he’s got his gun, he’s got his suit on/ She says, babe, you look so cool.”
As he finished the previous song, the entire stage went black, leaving everything to the imagination. Then, a wall of mesmerizing sound cascaded through the arena. “About You,” the sequel to “Robbers,” had begun. This number has simple lyrics that elicit more emotion than any of the band’s other songs: “I miss you on the train / I miss you in the morning / I never know what to think about / I think about you.” Only seeing the silhouette of the band enhanced the overall vibe—we all put our phones away and lost ourselves in the dreamy nostalgia that comes with seeing a former lover that you never really forgot about.
This experience felt more like an art piece than a pop-rock concert. “Love It If We Made It” was a chaotic eruption of color where scenes from their iconic music video combined with key lyrics projected behind the band, immersing the crowd in the aura of the song. Providing an introspective look into how messed up our world is, The 1975 decorates misery in a series of ’80s synth pop melodies.
“Sex,” a brazenly titled song about teenagers in lust, was my favorite part of the concert. Strobe lights flashed on beat with the opening aggressive electric guitar chords, immediately setting the tone for the next three minutes and 35 seconds. Telling a provocative story of infidelity, Healy describes scenes with his literal lyrics, giving this narrative an added sense of realism: “Yeah, my shirt looks so good / When it’s just hanging off your back.” I screamed every word.
The 1975 ended their concert on the B-Stage with their single “People.” A bold choice for their finale number, Healy threw a tantrum screaming this rebellious adolescent anthem. Ripping his vocal chords to shreds, he grabbed at the camera and shouted his confrontational lyrics concerning climate, culture, social media and everything in between. Writhing on a tiny stage covered in faux grass, Healy screamed this song with such passion that I am surprised he even had a voice to thank us all for coming once the show concluded.
Brash, electric and nonconformist, a 1975 concert is necessary to experience at least once in your lifetime. You do not have to know every word to connect with the musicality of each piece—they are truly one of a kind.