Instead of opting for a pre-show playlist last night, The 1975 instead introduced their new show to the sold-out Auckland Town Hall through ambient synth-drone-esque sounds that pulsated through the venue. The lead-up to the 9pm start-time was dispersed with random screams and squeals, as the packed out audience's anticipation grew. The drone noises grew louder as the time drew closer to 9pm, before reaching a climax as the lights went out.
As Adam Hann, George Daniel, Ross Macdonald, and Matty Healy casually strode on stage, the screams pierced the air, and the entire floor moved like a wave as fans tried to be as close as possible to the stage. Opening with 'Love Me' - the song defining the new era of this band - the distinctive 80s guitar riff shook the Town Hall and started the show with a bang. Matty's makeup also matched that of the 'Love Me' music video, with bright blue eyeshadow and red lipstick that shone brightly during the pink lighting of the song. A shout-out must also be given to Matty's amazing sparkly jacket - courtesy of Vixen Vintage Boutique on Auckland's Karangahape Road, who sold it to him earlier in the day - which sparkled as the lights bounced off it.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show,” Matty announced to the audience, before the intro to 'Heart Out' started. This number also marked the first of many incredible saxophone solos by their touring saxophonist and close friend, John Waugh.
Though New Zealand had a somewhat stripped back show in terms of production, the video screen behind the band and three hanging light-boxes (à la James Turrell) gave each song an entirely unique feel - with changing colours and different backgrounds to create a mood for every song.
'So Far (It's Alright)' led to the first of many crowd singalongs of the night, and the early song from the 'IV' EP was celebrated as Matty threw some flowers that were sitting on Ross' keyboard into the audience. 'The City' and 'You' were up next, which highlighted the musicianship of both Ross and Adam - who in addition to playing their respective instruments, also provided back-up vocals throughout the show.
There's no sound more distinctive of The 1975 than the opening synth-line of 'Menswear', and the heavily instrumental first half gave time for Matty to drink some of his red wine, whilst sauntering around the stage.
At this point in the show, 'Love Me' was the only song from their upcoming sophomore album 'I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It' that had been played. Matty spoke briefly about the new album (out at the end of February), saying that he likes it, before starting a brand-new song, 'A Change Of Heart'.
The new song is one of the album's most emotive and heartbreaking, and features synth noises that echoed through the venue. What was intriguing was the number of fans who already knew the words to the new songs - thanks, YouTube. This was followed by the more upbeat 'She's American', the blue and red American-themed lighting in time with the catchy hook, “If she says I've got to fix my teeth / Then she's so American.”
Fans had fought [and fought hard] to get tickets to this pre-album tour show, and Healy acknowledged that during the show, thanking them for their ongoing support. He said that he wanted to do these smaller shows for the fans, which lead to rapturous screams and applause.
He then asked for something from the audience - to create a special moment between everyone, for people to put down their phones for two songs. The audience happily obliged. 'Me', and 'fallingforyou' marked an unforgettable moment in the show, of fans just watching and singing along, not recording anything on their phones, just making memories in their minds of those moments.
“This is a song about breaking up,” Matty said as he introduced another new song 'Somebody Else' - a slow-jam about moving on from being in love with somebody. Technical difficulty preceded the just-released 'The Sound', so Matty asked Adam, “Play me a C.” He went on to sing the chorus acapella to the audience, teaching everyone the words and melody - a rare moment which proves Matty's abilities as a talented singer, as often throughout the show the crowd's passionate singing would overpower his own singing. In the final chorus of 'The Sound', Matty asked everyone to jump as high as they could - it almost felt like the venue was going to fall apart as fans proved their dedication to the band.
They closed their set with two favourites in the form of 'Robbers' and 'Girls', with the cheering continuing as they left the stage, demanding an encore. The three-song encore began with 'Medicine', a song released as part of Zane Lowe's creation of a soundtrack for the film 'Drive', and the song's artwork lit up the video screen behind them. The final two songs 'Chocolate', and 'Sex', are the band's most successful and catchy, and left the audience sweaty, yet content with the performance that they'd witnessed in the last hour-and-a-half.
There's no denying that there's something special about The 1975 and their fans. From fans who lined up from 2pm the day before the show, to fans who wore their already-purchased merchandise to the show, to fans who screamed and showed their adoration throughout the show, The 1975 have worked hard to cultivate their fanbase and create a feeling of inclusivity amongst them all. Going to a 1975 show creates a feeling of community - Matty brings you into his world through his openness in his lyrics, which are made all the more special by Adam, Ross, and George's talent and musical skills. If they continue on the career trajectory they've been on for the past two years - when they return next time they'll be playing a much larger venue than ever before.
So Far (It's Alright)
Change Of Heart