Still…At Their Very Best: The 1975 @ Scotiabank Arena

With sweaty palms and slightly-aching feet, we waited for the blue curtain with the words “The 1975” projected on it, to be pulled up. It’s been nearly a year since I last saw The 1975 live in the Scotiabank arena for their At Their Very Best Tour, and now I’m back in GA once again and they are, as their tour name promises, Still…At Their Very Best. 

The 1975 (Photos by Janna Abbas)

The band had kept the “house” set they used for last year’s tour, but unlike last year, the band members, specifically Adam, Ross, and George, spent some time chatting and laughing with the other members on stage before taking their places; it was a very surreal moment, almost like the audience wasn’t at a show. Instead, they were peeking through the blinds of someone’s “house” and seeing the family all together, so to speak. Then, Matty comes in through the door at the back and the crowd goes wild. Just like last year, they started the show with “The 1975” (The Being Funny in A Foreign Language version) and followed that up with “Looking for Somebody (To Love),” which really gets the crowd going. Some of the new additions to this tour’s setlist include “Be My Mistake,” “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America,” and “Heart Out.” 

One of the most meaningful parts of the show I think is when Tim Healy (lead singer Matty’s dad) came out on stage to sing “All I Need To Hear.” During this performance, Matty had climbed onto the roof of the “house,” giving his father his moment in the spotlight. Another was when Polly Money (the band’s guitarist and vocalist) sang “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America,” with Matty doing backup vocals. I hadn’t teared up so far during the show, but hearing Polly sing that song is what got me.   

I always get the feeling that Toronto is a special show for the band to play since we get treated to things that aren’t always done at every show. Last year, we got Carly Holt’s debut of her part in “About You." This year, we not only got a performance from Tim Healy, but we also got to hear “The Ballad of Me And My Brain,” which was a fan request. Admittedly, “Ballad” was never one of my favorite songs. I didn’t get why so many fans like it, but hearing it live completely changed my mind. It’s been many weeks since the concert and I still have that song on replay and every time I play it, I remember the red visuals flashing on the screen behind Matty. 

My favorite thing about this show is that they kept the house set but still gave fans the colorful lights and graphics they were missing and had come to expect, based on the band’s previous tours. The lights and colors being projected on the screen gave the set a much warmer feel, something I didn’t realize was lacking at last year’s show. 

There were a couple of  “weird moments” that were more in line with what people might be expecting after last year’s tour (though they weren’t as extreme), one of which being when Matty, while performing “Part of the Band” and sitting on the couch to the right of the stage, turns to face the TV behind him and starts running his hand over the screen “lovingly” (?). This on its own is not out of the ordinary, except that the TV was playing clips of Andrew Tate and Kanye West. In seeing that, people in GA turned towards each other, their mouths forming an O, wondering what they’re supposed to think. This may be giving Matty too much credit, but I think because of how exaggerated the hand gesture feels in context with the clips being shown, I do believe it was part of the character he’s been playing on stage, though I can’t fault others if this moment left a sour taste in their mouth. 

Last year, they ended the concert with “Give Yourself A Try." This year, however, they ended it with “People.” The switch from “GYAT” to “People” is a significant one I believe; while the band always tries to end the shows with a message to the audience that they should “give themselves a try,” “People” evokes a sense of urgency, that now more than ever, we need to “wake up” as the song says, seize the day, and make the changes in our lives we want to make before we run out of time. 

I used to think it was so unrealistic when people said that a show changed their life, but a great show will truly make you believe that. I left Scotiabank arena feeling like I was floating and already thinking about when I’d have the chance to see them again. I don’t know when their next tour will be, but based on this show, I know that whatever they’ll come up with next will be worth seeing.