Muse at the O2 Arena
Muse are famed for their fired-up sets, but last night at the O2, they seemingly took it to a literal level, torching more kerosene than a transatlantic jumbo in full flight. While this pyrotechnic display suits their steampunk aesthetic of Will of the People, it did feel rather over the top – even for their standard.
The evening kicked off with the title track, before Chris Wolstenholme walked down the tip of the T-shaped stage to belt out the iconic bass intro of Hysteria. It’s been two decades since the release of their landmark album Absolution, and equally as long since this reviewer first had the chance to see them live. And still, those bass lines continue to send shivers down the spine.
Muse have always been the more eclectic act of their generation, that golden age stretching from the mid-90s through to the latter part of the noughties, and the setlist was a perfect synthesis of their work and all the styles they’ve mastered. Loyal fans might lament the absence of certain favourites, from Stockholm Syndrome to New Born and Map of the Problematique, but for an O2 gig, it’s an understandable choice.
Won’t Stand Down is undeniably a live treat, easily the best track performed last night from the new album, together with You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween. Compliance, as fantastic as it is on record, is one of those numbers that tend to have a hard time getting the crowd on their feet and singing along.
Several songs from Absolution made an appearance, including a stirring rendition of Butterflies & Hurricanes and the epic Apocalypse Please. And, of course, Time Is Running Out couldn’t be left behind – the single that propelled Muse into the mainstream limelight before they reached stardom with Supermassive Black Hole and Starlight. These two were undoubtedly the highlights of the show – not only did they captivate the audience more than any other songs, but they were also perfectly timed just before the encore.
Watching Muse perform is a treat, even for those unfamiliar with their songs, because the language of their music is so universal: the heavy blue-rock riffs of Psycho, the spectacular solo of Plug in Baby – arguably Muse’s finest tune – and the killer guitar play in Uprising.
The encore felt somewhat brief with just a pair of tracks, but wrapping up with the grandeur of Knights of Cydonia is always a joy. Kicking off with that legendary Morricone harmonica solo and then bursting into gloriously orchestrated chaos, it says everything about a band that has shaped the history of contemporary progressive rock.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information and future events visit Muse’s website here.
Watch the video for the Compliance here: