The 1975 Manchester review: Hometown heroes prove why they are the best around at the AO Arena

Matty Healy leads from the front with stunning show in front of captive audience.
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For what was the final show in Manchester before hometown heroes The 1975 go on an indefinite hiatus from live shows, the band produced a masterclass on stage to once again show why they are one of the best live bands in the world.

That isn’t an exaggeration either. Having been fortunate enough to see them twice in the space of seven days, I can truly say that they are the best live band I’ve ever seen. That is no small feat considering I’ve attended over 30 concerts in the last 12 months alone. 

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After watching their first performance in London last Monday, I felt it would have been difficult to top that performance, but alas as always The 1975 proved me wrong. They get better and better each and every time they step on stage, and like always frontman Matty Healy leads from the front. 

Matty Healy leads from the front for the 1975 Matty Healy leads from the front for the 1975
Matty Healy leads from the front for the 1975

Healy has something that cannot be taught, he has natural swagger, charisma, charm and an energy about him that just hooks you in from the moment he starts singing, talking and even with his theatrical work. It felt Hollywood-esque when he dived into the on-stage TV and appeared on a second stage on his knees whilst singing ‘I Like America’ to a waxwork version of himself that rose from the ground. 

No matter if you are a relatively new fan or a fan from the band’s early days, everyone in the arena knew they were in the presence of an incredibly talented singer, songwriter and performer that kept the audience hooked and on the edge of their seats… or feet if you were standing for over two hours. 

The band came out with a bang and instantly got the crowd going, with 80s-esque hits such as ‘Looking For Somebody (to love), Oh, Caroline’  and ‘I’m In Love With You’ and crowd-favourites ‘Happiness’ and ‘Part of The Band’ before transitioning into ballads ‘A Change of Heart’ and ‘All I Need To Hear’, which was sung to perfection by legendary actor Tim Healy. 

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Every member of the band shone and had their own moments in the spotlight. Ross MacDonald was as terrific as always on the bass guitar, and got arguably the biggest roar of the night after Healy introduced him to the “ladies, especially”.

The saxophonist John Waugh is an absolute wizard, and his solos were a personal highlight for myself. Speaking of highlights, Polly Money nailed the lead vocals on ‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’.

From there, the band got the lively Manchester crowd dancing and jumping like there was no tomorrow with four upbeat and uplifting songs in quick succession in  ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)', ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’, ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)', and ‘The Sound’. 

Afterwards, Healy addressed the adoring crowd with a story about a fan the band had met during an earlier meet and greet, and played fan-favourite ‘Milk’ at the request of said fan. A magnificent night of live music wrapped up soon after following five songs in quick succession, ending with classics ‘Sex’ and ‘People’ to a roaring crowd in appreciation of the band’s collective efforts.

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The only thing I wish I could have seen/heard the band playing ‘Me & You Together Song’ and/or ‘Girls’, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Nevertheless, it didn’t take away from what was a magnificent night.

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