I would never have classed myself as a Muse fan, in fact until Starlight hit the charts and I became aware of ‘Blackholes and Revelations’ it was safe to say I didn’t own an album and I couldn’t have named two songs they had produced. That album kicked them wholeheartedly into my awareness and it is an album that I absolutely love. Perhaps it’s my age but that soaring sweep of what I would term cosmic rock somehow hearkens back to my youth and has an affinity with my early musical tastes and love of writers such as Isaac Asimov, Gordon R Dickson, EE Doc Smith, Robert Heinlein, A E Van Vogt and Phillip K Dick amongst others.
I hadn’t planned to see Muse, a little voice in my brain whispered that I probably wouldn’t even enjoy an hour and a half of them live but then a message popped up with the last-minute opportunity of two tickets in one of the hospitality suites. I was aware of the reviews the show was getting, incredibly good ones and so it seemed silly not to go. As someone I met on the night said, it would be a crying shame not to see such a band at the height of their journey and I must say they have reached a height.
We had VIP tickets for the Amex lounge and it is a great way to start a visit at the O2. A number of options are open to you for relaxing prior to the gig. Drinks, various choices of what to eat and where. We opted for The Gantry, we pre ordered food that arrived on Bento Boxes. The steak was cooked to perfection and full of flavour with the accompaniments just right. Dessert was packed with flavour and rounded off the meal perfectly. If, like me, you enjoy people watching the Gantry is a great place from which to survey the room and adds something to the evening’s entertainment.
Post meal we headed to our seats. Muse were set up to play ‘In the Round’, a long sprawling stage with main rotating area and two peripheral rounds. Hovering menacingly above was a gantry, almost mothership like it hug there with a swarm of globes like a fighter escort all around. A lattice of wires connected everything and technicians clambered along the structure; intriguing was one way to describe it.
I’m told Matt Bellamy designed the show and it displays an incredible vision. The work that went into making it possible, to designing the elements that come together to form the show is wholly ambitious and I’m so glad I did see it live.
Globes rising and falling, sweeping slowly round the stage as the power of the band’s music forms a crushing wave that assaults you. Through it Bellamy’s vocals rise and fall like the flight of a valkyrie over a battlefield. Emotions drive at you, recede, lull you and then climb back to a pinnacle dragging you with them. This show is a real show, rock opera on a scale bands once dreamt of but few could ever really come close to achieving. Lights pulsate like laser blasts, pianos rise and fall from the floor, Matt disappears and reappears and all the time the music drives you toward a climactic finish of a night that is packed full of visuals. Puppet Master hands control the guitarists and the music drives the audience. Muse seem to be having the time of their life and who can blame them for pushing boundaries. Who wouldn’t love to have the freedom to express themselves in the way these guys have, all credit to those around them that have made this show possible.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be a true hardcore Muse fan, Black holes will however remain one of my favourite albums forever. If you can cope with the intensity of music like this then, given the opportunity, you absolutely must see one of their shows. If in future they are anything like this one then you too will find it one of those events about which you will always say, ‘we got to see them play live and they were awesome!’
To see what’s coming up at The O2 visit their website
To discover more about Muse, visit their official website
15th April 2016
15th April 2016