The 1975: Q101 Twisted Xmas Show Review

Michelle Doherty, Digital Editor



Let’s just get this out of the way before we start the actual review; the answer to the burning question is no, he did not kiss anyone at the Chicago show Friday night. He being, Matty Healy, frontman for The 1975. Fun fact: In November 2014, The 1975 played the Aragon Ballroom to a much smaller crowd, a fan was brought on stage and Healy kissed them. Sorry everyone, if you wanted to see Matty kiss a fan on stage in Chicago you should’ve been at that show like I was to witness the event. It felt scandalous and performative; it was very rock and roll.    

Moving right along, shall we? The 1975 closed out night three of Q101’s Twisted Xmas events at the Aragon Ballroom, on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022 in downtown Chicago to a packed house.   

When you’re inside the Aragon Ballroom, you feel like you’ve been transplanted back in time to watch a concert amongst kings and queens. The general admission area is like standing in a castle courtyard. If you look up at the ceiling, you feel like you’re in the middle of the woods with no light pollution, something you won’t find in the middle of Chicago. A galaxy is painted onto the ceiling that makes you feel like you’re underneath the stars. Ornate designs are carved into pillars and balconies that border the wooden rectangular ballroom floor. You have to walk through archways to enter the wooden floor area. There’s a single medium-sized disco ball hanging from the ceiling waiting to give some pizazz to the ballroom.    

The general admission area was packed wall to wall with bodies all facing the stage waiting to be entertained. In the sea of heads, I saw one Santa hat, which I thought there’d be more of because it was Twisted Xmas after all, to quote the movie Elf, “there’s just no Christmas spirit anymore,” because we’re Millennials and we’re tired. People stood underneath the arches blocking your entrance into the pit letting you know that there’s no more room for one more person. People were leaning against beautifully colored and intricately designed pillars, most of them looking like they worked a rough week at a nine to five. There were fake candles all throughout the venue making it feel very medieval. More fans overflowed onto the floor one step above the ballroom floor as well as lining the staircase leading up to the balcony section. 

Making my way through the crowd, I noticed the usual suspect smells that seem to be at every concert: body odor, perfume and MaryJane. Put that in a candle and sell it! Let’s move to where I watched the show, the second floor. The tiles on the staircase gave the venue a Moroccan touch as did the dark wood beams holding the ceiling together. I walked to where it looked like there weren’t many people. I was about to breeze through the VIP section eyeing a perfect spot to watch the show. If there wasn’t a lady doing her job that stopped me in my tracks to ask for my wristband, I would’ve had the perfect view. I laughed and told her sorry, realizing my mistake. I eventually found a spot behind a table in one of the convex balconies where a guy and a girl looked to be on a date. Pretty ideal date.     

As I stood watching The 1975’s crew put together their stage, I thought there’s something magical about feeling like you’re under a starry night sky about to watch a performance you’ve only heard wild things about; like eating a piece of raw meat on stage in New York City or sitting on top of a room from the house-esq stage setup we’ve all seen on Tik Tok and Instagram. All the while drinking from a flask singing from a book with the song’s lyrics in it. Which made me think, did Healy have to do that because he gets too drunk during the show to remember all the lyrics? And if that is the case, then ladies and gentleman, that is called drinking responsibly.   

Chicago didn’t get that performance, what we got was a 20 song rock show. Which I think the crowd was satisfied with, because they cheered and hollered at the bands every move, to Matty’s every word. This is probably a good time to pause and explain the band situation. The group is made up of four lads from Manchester, England. Adam Hann is the band’s guitarist, Ross MacDonald is their bassist, George Daniel is their drummer and Matty Healy is their lead singer, and spokesperson for the band. As someone with anxiety we all need a Matty Healy in our lives. The dynamic just works for the four. Healy is talkative and they trust him to do his thing. 

At 8:32 p.m. the show begins with Healy sitting in a plush leather bound chair facing away from the crowd. He’s watching what we’re all watching, which is edited together clips of b-roll on the jumbo screen that is setup behind the band’s instruments. Healy is drinking from a bottle of wine and moving his arms in free flowing movements to the classical music playing over the loudspeakers. Every time he pulled from the wine bottle, the crowd screamed louder than the music. As the music faded away to the sound of a heart monitor the rest of the band walked on stage through flashing lights from the jumbo screen showing video of television static.

The band starts to play a song off their newest album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language.” The opening song, which in my opinion, is the most influential song on the new album was “Looking For Somebody (To Love).” When Healy faces the crowd he’s wearing a pair of sunglasses that look like Raybans and he’s strapped with his red electric guitar. His wobbly knees feel like Chuck Berry, but they also look like flapping butterfly wings.

The opening lyrics are, “Somebody running through the field. Somebody should’ve stayed home. Somebody picking out the body of somebody they were getting to know.” The song’s lyrics juxtaposed the music that sounds like an 80s dance ballad. The crowd shouts along with the words, “I wanna show him he’s a b****,” with strong emphasis on the last word. Healy then points the neck of his guitar at the crowd acting like he’s shooting a gun as he sings the words, “bang, bang, bang, bang.” The fans go wild for the performance. 

Throughout the show Healy is staggering on stage taking swigs from a flask and lighting up cigarettes. He reminds me of a pirate, like Jack Sparrow if he were the lead singer of a band.

Before playing the song “Wintering” Healy said, “Merry Christmas everyone” then immediately after the song said, “Merry Christmas, you filthy animal.” Which I can only believe he is quoting from the movie “Home Alone,” a Christmas classic that takes place in the very city we’re currently watching them play in. 

On a few different occasions, Healy apologized for not giving us the entire house setup or the performance to go along with the house. He said they’re putting on a regular rock show. Healy said it’s nice being able to put on a regular show and not a performance. I felt honored that our city was able to give him that solace. The concert felt more like a rock show than a scripted play. 

When the band was performing the song “Paris,” Healy was drinking a flask and smoking a cigarette. He swung the flask as he said, “The crowd cheered for an overdose,” which I thought was very performative of him and smiled at the drunken gesture. 

After playing the song “About You,” Healy announced that they will be back next year for a round two of them being at their very best. Then Healy said, “The thing about us is we keep getting better and better” before launching into the song, “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You.)”

During their song, “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” after Healy sings the lyrics, “he works in a petrol station.” He asks, “What’s he doing?” The whole place yells back at him, “Selling petrol!”

Healy asked the crowd if they wanted to be sad-sad. He said, “we’re going full emo right now” then started to play their song, “I Always Want To Die (Sometimes.)”

As the band geared up to perform their song, “Love It If We Made It,” Healy said, “We shouldn’t be playing this song in 2022 when it came out in 2018. Now it has a different meaning.” 

Healy was telling the crowd that the band loves Chicago. He said it is their favorite place and they’re sorry that they couldn’t do the house for us. Healy announced “You’ve been watching The 1975. We love you, thank you!” Then performed the song, “Give Yourself A Try.” After  the song was over, the four guys walked to the center of the stage and bowed to their fans. The musicians walked off stage one by one, Daniel was the last as he threw his drum sticks out into the sea of faces then lights went dim. 

Not one person moved an inch knowing the show couldn’t possibly be over just yet. That’s when Healy walked back out on stage. He said, “I thought you’d all be leaving by now.” He explained that for the last song he was going to come down to the crowd without a mic with only his acoustic guitar to sing the last song, “Be My Mistake.” Healy was held up by two security guards as he played his guitar gently and softly singing with the fans in the pit. As the rest of us are standing still watching our breathing making sure we’re not too loud. 

As the whole place listened to the last song, phones popped up to document the spontaneity of the closing moment. Watching from the second floor looked like a candlelight vigil was being held. I heard someone behind me say, “Is he gonna kiss someone after this?”  

I would like to mention the show openers; BLACKSTARKIDS, labelmates to The 1975 opened the night with high energy. Their sound is an infusion of hip-hop and pop punk. They give off an early 2000s vibe fashionably and musically, which I am here for! The group is from Kansas City, Missouri. The group formed in the winter of 2019. Their personal styles exude coolness. I started following them on instagram for that very reason, the good tunes were a close second. Their handle for Instagram is @blackstarkidz do yourself a favor and follow them you won’t be disappointed!

The 1975’s playlist from Aragon Ballroom on Dec. 9:

  1. Looking for Somebody (to Love)
  2. Happiness
  3. If Your Too Shy (Let Me Know)
  4. Part Of The Band
  5. Oh Caroline
  6. I’m In Love With You 
  7. Wintering
  8. Paris
  9. Me & You Together Song
  10. When We Are Together
  11. Robbers 
  12. About You
  13. It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
  14. Somebody Else
  15. I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
  16. Love It If We Made It
  17. The Sound
  18. Sex
  19. Give Yourself a Try
  20. Be My Mistake