Muse at Emirates Stadium
For Muse, there’s nowhere left to go to make their gigs bigger, so the only option is to make them madder, wilder and even more bonkers. Their breathless two-hour set at the Emirates Stadium kicks off with the aptly titled Supremacy, with its King Kong-sized bass drum stomp underpinning a riff that’s distorted to the point of collapse. All the while a massive HD screen roars into life, displaying an engine-like hub that spins and spews CGI sparks while above the stage concealed hoses spit actual jets of fire.
The playfulness of tonight’s set was largely absent from Muse’s previous Wembley Stadium shows. On numerous occasions throughout the gig, all manner of props and visuals are wheeled out to amplify the spectacle. World leaders are mockingly rendered as cartoons and forced to dance on screen during the Panic Station. Animals sees an actor in a fat cat suit appear on stage to throw cash into the crowd before suffering a heart attack at the song’s climax. For Feeling Good, a similarly dressed woman ends up drinking petrol from an old-style pump. Both eventually disappear under the stage only to be later seen in coffins.
Best of all, a massive robot joins the band on stage to blow steam out its ears during The 2nd Law – Unsustainable, a track that’s not so much a song as just an exercise in guitar FX manipulation, but no less entertaining for it.
Even among all the visual pageantry, the real star is the music itself and the list of great songs and moments Muse have at their disposal is exhaustive. Tonight’s highlights include Matt Bellamy’s virtuoso piano solo for Butterflies & Hurricanes, the thunderous intro riff to Hysteria, and the near-riot inducing chorus for Uprising.
Ironically, the peak of Muse’s pomp brilliance comes in the form of last year’s much-derided official Olympic song Survival, its screeching guitar solo and thunderous, juddering riff serving as a thrilling reminder of how fun rock theatrics should be.
Still – and by some distance – the best live act in the world.
For further information and future events visit Muse’s website here.
Watch the video for Panic Station here: