The 1975 At Home

The experience of watching The 1975 recorded concert

Released on October 14, 2022, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language” (BFIAFL) is The 1975’s fifth studio album to come out. The album blends genres of pop, folk, funk, rock and synthwave together. BFIAFL was a major comeback from their previous album “Notes on a Conditional Form” (NOACF) which had more mixed reviews. Similarly from their previous tour — Music for Cars Tour,  The 1975 ‘At Their Very Best’ tour included songs from NOACF and their third studio album “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” (ABIIOR). As of early November, they kicked-off their new tour, The 1975 ‘At Their Very Best.’ 

Being a fan of theirs since eighth grade, I was excited to hear about this, but the nearest show was in San Francisco on a Tuesday night, and I did not have the opportunity to go. Luckily, they recorded and live-streamed theirMadison Square Garden performance with Amazon Music and soon put it on demand on Prime Video. 

Their setlist had no opening, but included songs from BFIAFL, NOACF, ABIIOR and their older releases before they were called The 1975. The performance was broken into two acts and had an interlude to make the distinction. 

Their first act, labeled “Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” included songs from their new album and a few songs from past albums. The “Consumption” interlude was Matt Healy’s — the band’s frontman — act before introducing the second act. However, the act can be off-putting as it is a bit inappropriate. In “Consumption” Healy eats raw steak and does push-ups shirtless while watching TV. The TV screens shots of politicians, entertainers and world events before he crawls into the TV itself. 

Personally, I was not the biggest fan of the way the act was presented, but I found the theme of media consumption and the symbolic TV crawl to be ingenious. To me, the TV represents how we are so consumed by our media that the media literally consumes us. The second act, “At Their Very Best” included performances of older songs. I liked how they broke it up into two different sets, letting us experience their newer songs first then diving into their older music. 

Additionally, their setlist order helped the performance flow smoothly. For example, in the first act they opened strongly with danceable-poppy love songs such as “Oh, Caroline” and “I’m in Love With You” and then later transitioned into more mellow and melancholic songs such as “All I Need to Hear” and “fallingforyou,” allowing for a break between songs with different tempos. 

There was also no opening act for this recording and I felt like that allowed me to keep my attention on just them. Although I did not enjoy the shots of fans added in as it felt a bit distracting for me personally. I would have preferred if they used more shots of the entire crowd instead. I think that would have really sold the concert experience for me just a bit more. 

Despite that, the camerawork, stage setup and lighting itself was astounding — especially the lighting. The stage reminded me of a modern ‘70s living room, and it gave me a nostalgic feeling. The lighting was one of my favorite attributes of the overall work as it helped set the mood and feel of whatever song was being performed. 

The 1975 performs “About You” at Madison Square Garden in New York on Nov. 17, 2022. (Photo from Amazon Music.)

“About You” and “The Sound” had some of my favorite lighting, I just thought it was absolutely gorgeous. The performance for “About You” had some fog and was dimly lit by white light but had this one door frame that brightly illuminated white light, which (to me) was reminiscent of their “The 1975” album cover. The dimness of the lighting with the contrast of the white light helped create silhouettes around the performers that gave an emphasis to the yearning feel of the song. The lighting for “The Sound” on the other hand is flashier with streaks of pink, blue and purple lights from the stage above. The door frame this time was pink and instead reminiscent of their second studio album cover. But what really captured my attention was the timing of the front lights because it resembled the tempo of a heartbeat, matching the lyrics of the song.

I generally found the cinematography to be strong, however there were a few slo-mo shots in “Robbers” and “I Always Want To Die Sometimes” that I thought were unnecessary because those were really the only songs to have any prominent slo-mo shots. I think there could have been slo-mo shots added for other songs in order to keep consistency of dramatic shots, particularly in the sadder songs. 

All these elements combined made the work cohesive and added to the immersive experience, as if you were actually at the concert. No matter how big of a fan you are of The 1975, this is an enjoyable concert to watch in the comfort of your home or on demand. That is one of my favorite aspects — because it is a recorded concert, it is easily available and convenient to watch on any device (preferably TV for me). With the addition of the concert being shot with such clear resolution, it helped accentuate the beauty of the lighting and the stage set as well.  

If you were like me and couldn’t go to the concert, this would definitely be a great alternative and experience. It really does feel like you are at the concert dancing and singing along to the songs while the band is performing right in front of your eyes.