I saw Muse! It is still sinking in that I finally got to see one of my all time favourite bands. The tickets were bought under the guise as a Christmas present to my girlfriend (like all shows I want to see), and I have been impatiently waiting for half a year until the day finally came around. It was everything I expected and SO MUCH MORE.
Playing at the Emirates Stadium, they were supported by Bastille and Dizzee Rascal. The former were relatively good, although I must confess to not knowing any of their songs. I found that they were all quite similar in sound however. The latter, Mr Rascal, is a mystery to me. The main mystery is why he was on the bill. I couldn’t think of an artist less like Muse than Rascal and his troupe, yet he was given a 45 minute supporting set. The crowd were tepid to his presence at first, but by the end seemed quite stoked. Whether this was for him or because it was only 30 minutes until Muse came on, I’m not sure. Either way, by the end of his set there was a definite buzz in the arena.
The house music stops. The lights change. A mocked up news report comes up on the screen, with the presenter commenting on the energy crisis. The irony of the sudden blaring of lights and incredible pyro-technics isn’t lost, but at the same time, it looked amazing! Muse came on, and the roar from the crowd is insane. I suddenly forget all about the aching feet and back from being stood for so long, and the vomit, which is all over the floor and people next to me from where somebody had, drank too much earlier. For the next 2 hours 15 minutes I am completely absorbed in the performance.
I have been to many gigs in my life, from the relatively unknown, to festivals, to Coldplay and the Manic Street Preachers, but Muse just blew them all out of the water. The sound quality was awesome; the visual displays, namely lights, fire and video effects were so good I can’t even articulate. I got a pure thrill from hearing them play all the songs I love, including ‘Feeling Good’, a cover of Nina Simone, and an instrumental of ‘House of the Rising Sun’, originally written by The Animals.
There was a definite political under theme to the gig, with cutscenes and actual actors depicting stockbrokers and office workers committing suicide over tumbling share prices and rising costs of oil. It was surprisingly hard hitting, although equally I don’t think Muse will ever get to the Rage Against The Machine level of political activism.
The theatrics wasn’t limited to the stage either. Bellamy jumped down, posing with front row fans and running and shaking hands with everyone, which was incredibly heartwarming and awesome to witness even though I wasn’t able to see him myself. The HUGE robot coming out on stage was also incredibly impressive, but the sticking point for me had to be the massive inflatable, floating lightbulb that went around the stadium during ‘Blackout’. That on its own was incredible, but at the height of the crescendo, a woman dropped out from the bottom and proceeded to do beautiful aerial acrobatics while floating over the crowd. Mind = blown.
Just a small complaint: if you are one of those arseholes who think it appropriate to throw your beer (or soft drink) over the crowd, let me tell you now – It isn’t. What innate pleasure or perverse joy do you derive from showering fellow music lovers with overpriced, watered down alcohol? It isn’t clever, and it’s not amusing.
There is a reason Muse continuously win awards for ‘Best Live Band’, and I experienced that reason first hand. It is something I would recommend everybody experience, even if you don’t know that many of their songs. I promise you that you’ll leave the venue feeling electric!