The 1975, Hydro, Glasgow *****
“Don't believe everything you see,” declared the 1975’s singer and magnetic focal presence Matty Healy during the first half of a truly epic show, filled with the kind of wilful experimentation which rarely makes it to arena stages. “It's all made up.”
He was addressing his audience through a video camera, appearing on big screens and stacks of televisions around the stage. “I've never needed to talk to a group of people more,” he said, appearing drained in every way, alternately sipping on a cup which he said contains Lemsip and puffing on a cigarette. “This is emotionally and physically unsustainable.”
The stage set resembled the set of a live sitcom, an all-white living space with a dining table and chairs, muted table lamps and a spiral staircase. There was a telegraph pole with a sodium streetlamp hanging from it, and a roof section which Healy climbed to the lip of for the yearning, vocoder-voiced I Like America and America Likes Me.
Around the eight musicians, a dozen white-coated interlopers occasionally wandered. Healy shambled aimlessly while gripping a wine bottle, but delivered note-perfect takes on Part of the Band, the chillwave Fallingforyou and emerging pop epics About You and When We Are Together. The set’s first half was the Mancunian band’s entire fifth album, last year’s Being Funny in a Foreign Language – Healy described it as “a show about how weird it is being a pop star… [it’s] pretty meta.”
This impressionistic episode of ennui and desperation concluded with Healy undergoing an apparent breakdown alone on the stage, ripping his shirt off and gnawing a chunk of raw meat. Then he straightened up miraculously, and the band returned for At Their Very Best, a flawless greatest hits set which filled the second hour.
In this very traditional context, the 1975 were still fiercely interesting, delivering an hour of relentlessly glorious, inspiring, perfect pop, including If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know), Robbers, Love It If We Made It and Give Yourself a Try. Two sublime, very different arena shows in one.