Although the attendance was rather low at the Canadian Tire Centre for The 1975 concert last Thursday night, the fans in attendance being mostly teenage girls, screamed loud enough to make it sound like a full house when the Manchester boys hit the stage. While there were a few Ottawa Senators jersey’s in sight, the attendance was almost definitely affected by game seven of the Eastern Conference finals airing at the same time as the show.
A mention of the horrific bombing at the Ariana Grande concert was to be expected, having happened in their hometown earlier this past week. The band paid their tribute to the attacks, said a few brief words, and dedicated their next song to anyone who’d ever felt ostracized. While this was just the beginning of what came to be a series of quite breathtaking visuals, as the song began, the spotlights lit onto the crowd in sequence of a pride flag.
Besides the people on their phones, which is a sad but common phenomenon at concerts with a millennial majority, everyone in the arena was dancing – mostly in a way reminiscent of the more mellow beginnings of pop music. Most pop music today is overloaded with bubbly, repetitive hooks, and not to say that those hooks are not present in The 1975’s music, but their music also has some jazz and blues undertones.
The saxophone and piano solos were greatly emphasized, giving the performance a vibe to match the fog flowing through the arena. From song to song, the transition from relaxing, soothing, and melodic solos, over to hip shaking dance-pop with that bubbly vibe and upbeat guitar made for a well-rounded performance that had people lighting their lighters as well as jumping up and down.
Vocalist/guitarist Matthew Healy has proven in the last week to be quite the outspoken character, with his speech at their Detroit show about the Ariana Grande bombing in Manchester, and on Thursday his bone to pick was with moments being wasted by this millennial need to be validated by sharing everything online. Between songs, Healy stopped to appreciate Canada, saying that they love it here and that it’s kind of like England. After being handed an actual camera from a fan in the front row to take a selfie, he said that this need to be validated by sharing photos and videos on social media is taking away from the real experiences and that everyone should put their phones away for the next song. “I’m not trying to be patronizing, but put your phones down. The memory of the next three minutes will be far better than a fucking video on Facebook.” Most people did put their phones away, and although not everyone lasted very long, the lighters came out for the ballad that followed.
However simplistic, their stage set up allowed for some absolutely breathtaking backdrops, not only projected behind the band – but all around, above, and underneath them. Almost like the set of the Dating Game, the drummer, saxophone player, and pianist were in elevated cubicles, surrounded by tiers that displayed seamless visuals on all sides. Lighting up to suit the songs, with a red and blue sequence for She’s American, and a fully lit up city scape for Medicine, every side of every pillar on stage was in sequence. The drums even lit up different colors, seemingly to the beat.
Nearing the end of a rather short set with no encore, the band played their hit song, The Sound, and the crowd completely overpowered Healy’s voice, belting out all of the lyrics right on cue. While the show ended earlier than expected, the arena didn’t clear out for another at least 10 minutes. As people began leaving their seats, groups formed around all of the TV’s in the hallways and entrances of the CTC for the last leg of the Senators third period in Pittsburgh and didn’t empty out until fans ran to their cars in hopes of making it home for overtime.
This review can also be found on Tour Bus Entertainment’s website.