Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Mega 2016 Catch-Up: Gigs ( Part One ) - Muse

Okay, I warned you...
Here's the first of my 2016 catch-up posts that I hope to finish by at least 2020. Last year was an absolutely amazing year for gigs and I'm going to start with some of the biggest and most spectacular. And when you're talking spectacular... you're talking Muse...
Sarah and I went to London's O2 Arena last April to catch the mighty Muse on the UK leg of their Drones World Tour. This was the first rock gig we'd ever seen there  -  we first went there when it was known as The Millennium Dome ( can't remember which year... ) and again a few years later to see the Tutankhamen Exhibition, but I'd long wanted to see a band there, just for the experience. And this was definitely an experience...
It was exciting just to be in such an iconic building, among the thousands waiting for the boys from Devon to appear and blast our ears to Kingdom Come. The stage was set up in the centre of the venue so the gig was in the round, allowing as many people as possible to get a good view of the band. And, of course, the stage rotated too  -  I wouldn't expect anything less.
As the overture of the Drones "theme" played out, the band appeared from somewhere under the stage and then launched into the recent single Psycho, its pummeling riffs and crowd-shoutalong chorus setting the tone for the night. The new material such as Dead Inside and Reapers stacked up well alongside classics like Supermassive Black Hole and Starlight  -  the archetypal Muse mix of brutal rhythms, over the top vocals and stratospheric guitar-playing. In keeping with the Drones concept ( drone warfare, people as drones ) the arena was soon invaded by actual drones which were released from gantries high over our heads...
These dozen 6-foot spheres danced with the music, rising and falling above the crowd, pulsing with light  - almost like a scene from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. This was quintessential Muse: fun, exciting, faintly ludicrous and unapologetic in its debt to spectacle-hungry bands from another era like Pink Floyd or Genesis. Luckily all this pomp didn't detract from the music which was fantastic throughout  -  all band members giving their all but frontman Matt Bellamy unsurprisingly captivating the audience with his octave-leaping vocals and blistering guitar-playing. ( I also have it on good authority that he's rather fit into the bargain. )
After the main set ended with a reprise of the Drones theme, the band came back for three encore songs, including my fave, the spaghetti-Western metal of Knights Of Cydonia. Awesomeness! They showered us with human-shaped confetti and then were gone...
Here's Sarah catching confetti:
An absolutely mental gig! We'll definitely have to see them again.
Soundtrack: Loadsa Muse songs of course

Coming soon: more 2016 gigs in Bristol, Coventry... and Amsterdam...

2 comments:

John Pitt said...

I do like Muse.
And it sounded like an excellent experience.
I was going to ask you if they did "Knights Of Cydonia", as it's MY favourite too, - an absolute epic!
So much sound from just three people! How do they do it?

cerebus660 said...

It's a mystery! As you say, it's an enormous sound for a trio. They obviously have a huge array of effects pedals etc. at their disposal and I suspect some of the sounds may be pre-recorded. I do marvel at the technology available to bands today. You can only imagine what previous bands could have done with all this tech. Just think of The Beatles performing Revolver or Sgt. Pepper live! That would have been amazing...

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