Wembley Arena, London.
Thursday 23rd November
How do you make a sound big enough to fill a stadium, and almost blow the roof off?
Easy! sing Muse, who blast the arena and my ears out of orbit, leaving a smouldering black hole in its wake. Twelve years ago, three boys from Devon brought an idiosyncratic rock style to the music world, but perhaps few would’ve realised they would go on to become masters of the live performance, kings of sound, stage and spectacle.
Hot on the heels of this summer’s success story, fourth album Black Holes and Revelations, Muse have embarked on a European Arena tour. Thursday’s show was the finale in their UK stretch, and they were keen to make thousands mourn their departure! First up were supporting trio The Noisettes. Their raw garage-rock style is a worthy opener to the grandiose of Muse, but not too memorable when comparing to the band you paid for. They are funky and energetic enough, with green-tights-clad singer Shingai Shoniwa proving charismatic, drawing comparisons to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s.
Their black curtain backdrop is a tease to what it conceals, the most luminescent lights display I’ve ever seen, switched on at Muse’s arrival. One second, looking like a psychedelic 70’s disco, the other like a scene from Dr. Who, Dominic Howard’s drum-kit enclosed in a colour changing Tardis. The grandeur of the setting is a treat for the eye! Yet it only supports the intensity of the music, never surpasses it. Muse energetically and effortlessly drive through scores of hits, the set approaching 2 hours. The soaring single Starlight sees the mesh curtain video screen transported into outer space flight. The ever sexy Supermassive Black Hole shows marching robots, and destructive dot matrix space invaders. The theme is sci-fi, apocalyptic and extraterrestrial, perfectly suiting the out-of-this-world histrionics of Muse’s sound.
Highlights include frenetic Hysteria and renowned Time is Running Out with Chris Wolstenholme deftly creating the bass buzz, a sweaty, adrenalin pumped pulse of the arena. Ambitious Butterflies and Hurricanes confirms front-man Matt Bellamy’s genius hand as he switches from guitar God to Rachmaninoff pianist and back again in ten bars. Writhing and robot dancing across the vast stage, he is orgasmic to watch, strumming silver guitar with reverable gusto, all the eccentric curiosity of a bird about to take flight. His voice is shimmering and soulful, and with a breathless edge, Bellamy never falters.
What Muse lack in on-stage banter, they make up for in spectacle. They have grown from eclectic prog-rock band into glamour rock Gods, comparable to Queen. The crowd throughout the entire show buzzed like electricity, heads bubbling like molten lava, thousands of fans singing along. It is a testament to their talent that their outrageously cataclysmic sound has finally reached the mainstream, the disparate mix of grannies, grandchildren, goths and geeks all united under one roof.
Closing with haunting dance-rock track Take a bow, Muse left their fans whispering the line “you’ll burn in hell…” curiously contrasting to their thrilled faces as they leapt through fluorescent fountains
outside the stadium.