Adorned with stairs, windows and vintage televisions, Dickies Arena on Oct. 9 was transformed into a homey stage as The 1975 invited fans to an intimate look at their greatest hits of the last decade. As the lights illuminated the living room stage, leather-clad fans cheered on front man Matty Healy armed with a wine bottle and his iconic lyrics.
“Still … At Their Very Best” marks the fifth concert tour and builds upon the band’s 2022 tour success. Cinematic and theatrical, the performance follows Healy’s typical eccentric rockstar persona — with a flask and cigarette in hand, he wanders around the stage, followed by a close-up camera, creating an experience that feels like one is entering the band’s home for the performance. Despite being an arena show, the physical set and the framing allowed listeners to truly connect with the band and feel like they were a part of the set. Along the way, the audience witnesses chaotic surprises directly from Healy’s imagination — from mid-concert therapy advertisements to unexplained push-ups, it felt like watching a fever dream come to life.
The setlist effortlessly transitioned between throwback classics from earlier albums — including “Robbers” — and their more recent releases such as “About You” from the newest album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language.” Their live instrumentals soared with the sounds of John Waugh’s saxophone and Healy’s iconic red guitar. The crowd roared at the jazzy energy from the saxophone solo in “If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know).”
Halfway through the first act, Healy broke the fourth wall to speak on his recent string of controversial behavior, saying that he should probably go to therapy to seek help for his sometimes outlandish commentary. The funny but heartfelt conversation felt like a genuine apology — until the screens lit up with a coupon code for BetterHelp, a teletherapy service. The quick turnaround in tone had the crowd audibly laughing and rolling their eyes at Healy’s antics.
The absurdity of the show peaked when Healy disappeared from the main stage, only to reappear on a platform next to a naked replica of himself. As he lay on the patch of grass, fans surrounded the mini-stage both confused and intrigued. Before the audience had enough time to process, the naked figure was replaced by a microphone stand. Without any explanation, Healy abruptly began an acoustic version of the ballad “Be My Mistake.”
No concert by The 1975 would be complete without a little bit of controversy. In true Matty Healy fashion, the singer addressed the audience in a ten-minute speech regarding the band’s actions at Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After Healy gave a speech condemning Malaysia’s anti-LGBTQ laws and kissed bassist Ross MacDonald on stage, the festival shut down the entire weekend of performers. Many local activists criticized the action as a performative, culturally insensitive display of allyship. Healy took to the stage to respond by detailing how the Malaysian government knew who the band was when inviting them to headline. However, the most surprising part was not the content of the speech, but rather the TikTok-style Subway Surfers videos that accompanied it to keep the attention of the confused crowd.
After the speech, the band transitioned into “Love It If We Made It,” an introspective pop anthem which contrasts upbeat music with lyrics about current events, including the refugee crisis in the Middle East and sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump. Healy later argued that his behavior in Malaysia should have been expected considering their band has always been political, and this song served as proof.
After the emotional rollercoaster ride of the first half of the show, the second half served as a cool down. With the mellow, yearning tone of “Somebody Else” and the reflective, nostalgic “Give Yourself a Try,” the concert concluded with the energy-filled “People.”
The Fort Worth performance of The 1975 was exactly as fans expected — phenomenal music with a healthy dose of controversy. Healy knows how to get attention from an audience. Accompanied by his talented band and a fanbase to support his absurdity, Healy has cemented his legacy as the chaotic rockstar archetype.