Live Review: Muse @O2 Arena, London

Devon’s finest return home confidently with a mix of old and new.

muse live review

Support band The Joy Formidable are expected onstage when a group of five Londoners appear instead. They explain that they only had the phone calling telling them about this show at 1PM and the lack of preparation is noticeable.

There’s still no explanation on where the original support band is although social network tells me lead singer Ritzy had lost her voice. Filly’s, a DIY local band, sound is pretty average and the crackling sound and constant feedback takes out any charm the Kasabianesque sound they could have had.

Muse’s stage is a lot less spectacular than previous models have been. Their round amphitheatre stage, surrounded by seating, is an innovative idea that sometimes fails. The screen instead at the side of stage lays low at an angle on the floor making it nearly impossible to see if you’re not on the front tier or at the front of the crowd, this is especially problematic during the intro of Unsustainable as news footage flashes past and makes their opening much more underwhelming than it should.

There’s little subtlety as four songs in a massive upside down pyramid shaped screen descends on the stage (essentially a mini version of their last Wembley set). While they are still as pompous as ever there is more of a relaxed confidence about the three-piece, the onstage banter is more real and frontman Bellamy is the most at ease with himself as I’ve ever seen him be. Bellamy even ventures into the crowd, a rare occurrence, and shows a more human side as he giggles through ‘Undisclosed Desires’.

There’s a treat for fans who have been there from the beginning as they play ‘Sunburn’, a track which hasn’t made a set list appearance since 2000. For newer fans to the band they hit through all the classics flawlessly with a spinning drum kit, a mass of laser lights and short film montages to make a media student froth at the mouth.

The softer songs like ‘Explorers’ and ‘Save Me’ aren’t as well received as the more glam rocked influenced tracks from new record The 2nd Law, as most of the crowd surrounded me found conversations about their hair more interesting than the ballads.

It’s hard to feel the emotion they try and portray as some of the crowd lose interest and the some of the newer songs feel colder than perhaps they could be. Tracks like ‘Panic Station’, ‘Animals’ and ‘Explorers’ go down much better, but the second single ‘Madness’ is the newest track to create a moment, while U2 inspired ‘Follow Me’ sounds much better live.

Where their last tour focused on a 1984 uprising, this tour focuses is an apocalyptic version of our economic downtrodden world. This theme is mainly shown on the mini films that appear during ‘Animals’ and a video played before the first encore which showed teens running in an apocalyptic world.

The choice of encore songs is inspired as they leave you begging for more by finishing with the Wild West inspired ‘Knight of Cydonia’ before coming back again with Survival (which won weirdest intro of the night as he talks about meeting Bear Grylls) and leaves up with ‘Starlight’.

After this performance it feels like Muse have stopped pretending they are rock stars and are now starting to believe it.