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Arena, London 12 November 2009
fans that feel that Muse have sold out their alt-rock roots, should
perhaps be reminded of the title of the Tiny Teignmouth Trio's debut.
mistake, their current tour is unashamedly all about the Biz of Show. Son
of a Tornado, Matt Bellamy and his band of rural renegades certainly blew
up a veritable storm.
set-list could have been more equally balanced between old and new and
there could've been more spontaneity in the performance, but this wasn't a
gig down the Dog and Duck, this was a cosmic event.
platforms for each band member? Check. Revolving drum kit? Check.
Concept-heavy sci-fi visuals ? Check. Lasers set to stun ? Aye Aye Capt'n.
It was live
Matt, but not as we normally know it. This would be supermassive. Having
survived the near vertical ascent to my seat in the very upper level of
the O2 Arena, I strapped myself into my vertiginous seat and waited for
intimate with their latest CD, I knew that Resistance would be
futile. The extended intro tape built the atmosphere and the mysterious
three towers that dominated the centre of stage were illuminated with
interleaved images of faceless Orwellian marching figures.
Then in an
exposition of sight and sound, each tower unfurled its shroud to reveal
each band member on a raised platform as the sonic assault commenced.
'We will be
victorious' went the chorus of the opening song, and who were to argue as
they segued straight into the superb title track of the latest CD, even if
it does sound like a mad mash-up of Erasure's 'A Little Respect' and
Queen's 'We are the champions' ?
thing about Muse is that you forgive them wearing their influences on the
sleeves of their space suits. It's all so gloriously overblown and
delivered with extreme confidence and verve, you could never accuse them
of pastiche. Panache, yes.
gets an early outing and is the first of two tracks played tonight from
'Origin of Symmetry' which for many is the blueprint Muse album.
therefore slightly disappointing that the following three tracks reverted
to the more mainstream glam funky Muse of the last two albums. That being
said, great crowd-pleasing stuff that had even we mountaineers of the
upper tiers up on our feet.
point in the proceedings, they certainly didn't have to sing for
absolution to get the audience feeling good, although that would've been
nice. Muse's show-tune is hardly my favourite symmetrical song, but for an
arena gig it had great appeal for average Joe and Mo Punter, got a great
response and helped notched the atmosphere up another peg.
FG was substituted for fan-boy favourite 'Cave' in the following night's
show, indicating that Muse are still happy to cherry pick from their first
two platters. The inevitable 'Plug in Baby' and 'Time is Running out'
(together with new cut 'Unnatural selection') closed the main set on a
high-note, or in Matt Belamy's case loads of high notes, backed by a
massed chorus imploring more, more, more. Magnifico-o-o-o.
the stage with the first part of their record-company-worrying three part
symphony seemed like a strange choice, but in context it worked well as a
prelude to an arena-melting 'Stockholm Syndrome' that took no hostages.
Muse are big
enough to not need to blow their own trumpet, but they still brought a
great show to a fitting end with the horn-somely bonkers Knights of
still, they're coming back next year for at least one date at Starbase
Wembley. Don't miss.
(albums in brackets)
We are the
universe (intro music) Uprising (R) Resistance (R) New Born (OOS) Map of
the Problematique (BHAR) Guiding Light (R) Supermassive Black Hole (BHAR)
Interlude + Hysteria (A) Nishe + United States of Eurasia (R) Feeling Good
(OOS) Unintended (SB) Helsinki Jam + Undisclosed Desires (R) Starlight (BHAR)
Plug In Baby (OOS) Time Is Running Out (A) Unnatural Selection (R)
Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 1: Overture (R) Stockholm Syndrome (A) Man with
harmonica Knights of Cydonia (BHAR) NOTE: very similar set-list on Fri
13/11/09, with the following changes Unintended (SB) or Feeling good (OOS):
not played Cave (SB) and MK Ultra (R): added.
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