Today was one of the days of the trip I’ve been looking forward to the most, but more on that later…
I decided that I needed a little chance to sleep in, so sleep in I did. When I finally did start moving on my day, I started down towards Burrard Station for my first go at navigating Vancouver’s SkyTrain system. After a brief misunderstanding regarding the idea of “zones,” I got on, only to realize I’d gotten on the train going the wrong way (luckily it was the end of the line so it just started moving backwards) and that I’d actually gotten on the Expo Line instead of the Millennium, which is what I wanted to be on. It was a pretty easy fix, just a jump off at Granville Station to transfer trains. Finally, I got to Lougheed Town Centre, where Rukshila and her boyfriend, Mike, picked me up.
The three of us drove to Coquitlam for lunch at Legend House, a great Chinese place that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives for its awesome hand-pulled noodles. We made sure to get an order of those, and I can totally understand why they were on the show after tasting them. Pro Tip for anyone traveling to the area: apparently Legend House has a sister restaurant in downtown Vancouver called Peaceful Restaurant with the exact same menu, but is more expensive.
After lunch we took a brief detour to Rukshila’s house before heading back to the station. I hopped back on the train (no snafus this time) and got off to see the Science World Museum on Rukshila and Mike’s suggestion. It was a really fun, interactive place, though I would recommend going there with at least one other person so that you can play all the little games (most of them take at least two people).
Once I’d seen what there was to see at Science World, I jumped back on the train (now feeling like a real master of the SkyTrain) to Burrard for the walk back up to the hostel so I could get ready for the main event!
I took a cab to UBC and was very happy that I had a seat reserved once I saw the line-up for The 1975 outside the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre (the university’s hockey arena). I made my way through the line and got into the venue with every intention of going to the merch table, only to see a line that probably would have taken half the concert to wait in. Instead, I went right to my seat and ordered one of their shirts online. I sat alone for a long time, which was odd because this was the first concert I’ve ever gone to alone. My seat was further from the stage than I liked (or am used to, with how spoiled I’ve been by Minneapolis venues), and there were no screens set up for long-distance viewing, but since I didn’t know how the crowd would behave I thought it would be safest to be in a seat.
A group of three from Victoria sat down in the seats next to me, and after a while one of them, Gabrielle, introduced herself to me. After intros all around and some chatting, we danced the night away together. It was another one of those perfect instances of making quick friends on this trip that have helped make it so enjoyable for me.
The concert itself was incredible. I’ve been hoping to see The 1975 for a long time, but was out of town for all their Minneapolis shows, and they didn’t come to Winnipeg while I was there. They played all but one of my favorites, opening with “Love Me,” and “UGH!” before going into some deep tracks like “So Far It’s Alright.” They closed with “Sex,” which had everyone going crazy.
At one point, Matty, the frontman, asked everyone to put their screens away, saying, “I want to be here as people now, not people later,” before promising that “the memory of the next five minutes will be much more potent than a video on a f***ing screen” before launching into “Me,” a gorgeous song off the deluxe version of their debut. That really struck a chord with me, partly because he’s not the first musician I’ve heard address that issue. I feel like so often today we fail to really be with the people we are present with because we’re too busy talking to everyone who isn’t with us through the various media available to us to do so. I know it’s driven me up a wall on more than one occasion when I’ve made an effort to get together with someone one on one, only to have them on their phone talking to literally anyone but me the whole time. Not to sound preachy — I know I can be as guilty as anyone else of this from time to time — but living a more “disconnected” life when I get into the ship is something I’m actually really looking forward to and something I’ve been experimenting with a fair bit as I’ve been on this trip. And just in case you’re wondering, it feels incredible to ditch the phone and just enjoy a moment.
The other thing about this show that absolutely floored me was the tech. I’d heard Matty say in an interview that he was hoping to experiment with light in the production of this show, but I didn’t realize how far he and the rest of the creative team would take the concept. The entire set was LED screens: one large one to create the back wall, three rectangular columns, and three frames suspended above the stage (the same frame on their album covers). Almost every song had a totally different light-scape assigned to it, from white static to a city skyline, that got mapped onto the LEDS, then built on with the other fixtures on the rig. Some songs even had animations and shifts programmed in. As a lighting person myself, I love to see how innovative people can be with light and the emerging video tie-in technologies that are becoming more common as the apparatuses improve. If I was ever to had the opportunity to talk with the creative team behind what I saw last night, I would be so keen!
I waited for almost two hours after the show by the loading to try and meet the band. All I saw was them hurry onto their bus and pull out to get to the next stop on the tour. At least I tried! After their bus drove away, I jumped in a cab and made my way back to the hostel to crash! I am totally knackered and ready for bed!