England-based pop-rock group The 1975 brought its quirky moves, diverse beats and sincere lyrics to George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena on Nov. 9. Blending tracks from its eponymous debut album “The 1975” and recent sophomore release “I like it when you Sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” the group performed a spectacular show that seemed more like an intimate dance party with friends than an arena concert.
With artful set designs and overwhelming energy, the show started with “The 1975,” a soft whisper of a song that fans have come to identify as the band’s theme song, as it has appeared as the first song on both of the band’s albums. The tune grew in intensity, quickly launching into the chart-topping hit “Love Me.” The arena was masked in fluorescent lighting in various shades of pink to complement the track’s title and the cover art of the latest album. From the moment the band stepped on the stage, it was dynamic and amazingly energetic, encouraging audience members to break out of their shells and dance the night away.
Next up was “UGH!,” a song about lead singer Matthew Healy’s battles with cocaine that juxtaposes dark subject matter with psychedelic arrangements and lively guitar lines. For this track, the lights reflected a sparkling cityscape on the stage, symbolic of the dichotomy between the wonder and isolation reminiscent of being under the influence.
For the following three songs, Healy chose to comment on his experiences with love. “Heart Out,” from the self-titled debut album, reflects the inherent human desire to form deep, intimate connections with others. In stark contrast, the mellower “A Change of Heart” and “This Must Be My Dream” from the band’s most recent album underscores the confusion and pain that occurs when love does not meet expectations. Deep blue lights flashed around the stadium, echoing the singer’s melancholy and confusion.
“I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it,” a contemplative electronic piece, provided the audience with moments of clarity necessary to process the emotional intensity of the prior performances. Underneath the synth and percussion-filled texture is a lullaby that exudes innocence and renewal. Before moving on, Healy took the time to comment on Tuesday’s election results.
“The America that we know is a young America, a liberal America, a compassionate America, a socially responsible America. It’s an America that doesn’t react to fear with anger and doesn’t react to anger with fear,” Healy said. He then proceeded to sing “Loving Someone,” a commentary on the lack of role models for youth in society, especially when it comes to meaningful loving relationships.
“Somebody Else,” a fan favorite from the group’s latest album, embodies the post-breakup thoughts that the other party has moved on. The dark purple, red and blue lights were reminiscent of a pulsating heart, torn over the thought of losing a loved one.
“Paris,” a hauntingly nostalgic track with lyrics full of longing, preceded “Girls,” one of the most memorable songs off of the group’s debut album due to its dance-pop beat and evocative lyrics. Healy’s quirky yet rhythmic moves wowed the crowd, inspiring concertgoers to let loose. For the final song, the group performed “Sex,” the angst-filled hit song that launched its career. A strong rock drumbeat finished out the song, but it was obvious that the group was not finished.
The encore began with “Medicine,” a deeply intimate track about drug addiction. The band chose to end with “The Sound,” which served as the perfect link between the performers and their loving and grateful audience. Its humble and honest performances, as well as its surprisingly mature and personal lyrics, are what set The 1975 apart from contemporaries. The simple yet stunning use of lighting made for a beautiful show and Healy, unaware of the mesmerizing appeal of his authenticity, bared his soul to the audience, resulting in a show that was memorable and thought-provoking.
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