The 1975 at Finsbury Park
British rockers The 1975 have never quite been a band for the mainstream and they know it. Instead, they choose to cater to those who understand, creating a sense of community that allows them to sell out arenas around the world. As fans flock to North London’s Finsbury Park, with many opting to queue overnight, The 1975 celebrate their biggest headline show to date with an emotional and euphoric live set.
The gig opens with the band – made up of Matty Healy, Adam Hann, Ross MacDonald and George Daniel – treating the stage like a greenroom: getting dressed, having make-up applied and warming up for the evening ahead. Singer Healy, wearing a white lab coat and equipped with a megaphone, sets the stage for a re-written version of their At Their Very Best production. Part theatre performance, part concert, clips from the tour blew up online. “We didn’t understand the virality of TikTok when we wrote it,” Healy explains. While the house set-up remains the same, the acted interludes are missing. At times, the deviation makes the Finsbury Park one-off show feel disconnected, though one might suggest it’s intentional: a retaliation to the internet’s hysteria. “You can’t film a play,” he continues. Instead, the frontman fills the space with various ramblings and reflections. As several controversies hang over his head, it seems the band would rather just play it safe and enjoy this one.
The set is split into two sections. The first is dedicated mostly to their most recent album Being Funny In A Foreign Language. The catchy Looking For Somebody (To Love) and Oh Caroline are early highlights before All I Need To Hear, the first of many emotionally charged offerings. Actor Tim Healy is announced to the stage to perform the track as son Matty watches with tears in his eyes. It is clear that tonight means just as much to the band as those who’ve been there for the journey.
The second half is reserved for the hits and fan favourites. A two-track combination of the upbeat If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) and the aggressive desperation of The Ballad of Me and My Brain starts the section off strong. Between the intoxicating bops and dramatic love songs is the acoustic anthem I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes). It is here that the magic of a The 1975 gig is truly realised, as the 50,000-person audience belt out every word with raw emotion, many on shoulders. Just a few songs later, the tenderness is replaced with anger for Love It If We Made It. The strikingly different reactions are a sight to behold.
The 1975 have never been a band to sit quietly and so perhaps they’ll always be polarising to some, but their skill and ability to capture a crowd is unmistakable. Healy is a charming and charismatic frontman but it is the professionalism and talent of his bandmates that bring The 1975 to life. As the four-piece deliver over two hours of pop bangers, heart-rendering ballads and exasperated anthems, it is a historic day in Finsbury Park for a band (almost) at their very best.
Photos: Jordan Hughes Curtis
For further information and future events visit The 1975’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Oh Caroline here: