Earlier this year, The 1975 released their fifth and latest studio album Being Funny in a Foreign Language. Prior to this record, the band was known for revelling in excess. However, Being Funny in a Foreign Language saw the group lock in on their fundamentals and produce their most concise and focused record yet. Accordingly, the band replaced computerized production and autotune with studio instruments (there was a specific emphasis on ’80s guitar rifts, pumping drums, and saxophone melodies). As per Apple Music, this record consists of 11 songs that distil the essence of The 1975 without ever making it feel like they’re treading on prior ground. In other words, they were able to reinvent themselves whilst simultaneously celebrating themselves, and never losing sight of who they are.
All of this was perfectly encompassed in the At Their Very Best tour which reached Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on December 12, 2022. The first hour of this show focused on the new album and gave fans a chance to hear live renditions of almost all of the new songs. The latter portion of the show then saw the band go through older songs and fan favourites. Fans were able to hear The 1975 performing their latest, most timeless, record and then hear the classic songs which got the band to where they are today. These themes of reinvention and mastery were perhaps most evident when the band performed their Real World Studios version of the 2019 song I Like America & America Likes Me. This version (and performance) replaced the original song’s electronic production for a stripped-down piano track with Matty Healy’s raw vocals on top. This version sounds different but is just as impressive and just as loved by fans. This song perfectly encapsulated how there is not a rigid dichotomy between the band’s past and present state, but rather, there is careful, calculated, and refined sonic evolution.
The show itself was a masterclass in terms of production. The set was a fully-furnished deconstructed house that mirrored something out of an old-school sitcom. There was also an underlying narrative behind the show as it involved avant-garde artistic interludes between songs that touched on themes of fame, contemporary life, and consumption. The precise and carefully thought out nature of this show once again showed that this band — who have now been together for twenty years and have been influenced by growth, self-reflection, sobriety, and fatherhood — are at a stage where they have honed in on and mastered their craft.
Ultimately, The 1975 are truly At Their Very Best and being able to witness them live is a very entertaining experience.
The full setlist of the night was as follows:
- The 1975 (Being Funny in a Foreign Language Version)
- Looking for Somebody (to Love)
- Part of the Band
- Oh Caroline
- I’m in Love With You
- All I Need to Hear
- I Like America & America Likes Me (Real World Studios Version)
- About You (with Carly Holt)
- When We Are Together
- Lonely This Christmas (Mud Cover)
- If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)
- It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
- Somebody Else
- I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
- Love It If We Made It
- The Sound
- Give Yourself a Try
*Header photo by Jordan Curtis Hughes