So the thing about Muse is that they are phenomenal musicians, and always seem to have exemplary sound production live. Having seen them on every album tour they’ve ever done, the reality is you’re going to get a bit of a biased review from me; I am a huge fan of their live shows.
Tonight in Glasgow they started their UK new album campaign. The 2nd Law isn’t the easiest album to get into immediately. Or at least, it’s not as immediate as previous releases. With the show starting with ’dubstep’ track ‘The 2nd Law : Unsustainable’ it was clear from the get-go that (like all tours before) we were in for a night of perfect musicianship and elaborate stage theatrics.
There was much which was different from those previous shows worthy of mention. These include the fact that Matt seems to have found his talking voice. Normally it is Dom who does all the talking to the crowd and any real interaction. Just watch HAARP to see what I mean. Tonight though, and a first in my memory, Matt did pretty much all the talking.
Secondly there was very little in the way of “jams” between songs. Normally the band, or sometimes Matt would just “widdle” away for a few minutes between each song. Not tonight, with exception of a little Led Zeppelin ‘The Lemon Song’ there was no jamming or “ditties”. Each song had a natural ending and beginning of the next. Perhaps this is a conscious decision or maybe it is simply to ensure the production of the show fitted together in someway. After all there was a lot going on which I have no doubt needed orchestration (physical, not violins!)
Thirdly and perhaps most fun for a long-time fan was seeing Matt walk around just with a mic and have no guitar or piano. A true lead singer for the first time. This wasn’t for more than one song, which thankfully the electronic based elements of some of the new album allowed. However he seemed to revel in his he found freedom so much that he jumped down to the barrier and walked the front of the crowd signing, shaking hands and having fun. At the end he laughed and quipped “nice to finally meet you”.
I really want to discuss the show in terms of the visuals but I really don’t want to spoil too much for those yet to see it. However it is one of the best shows I’ve seen in while. Immaculately put together and executed to an even higher level. Not wishing to give too much away for those who haven’t yet seen the show but the ’big pyramid reveal’ is way cool and that particular prop works extremely hard for the rest of the show – a definite centre point throughout.
The songs speak for themselves and the setlist below will show that there was little in the way of ‘a quiet moment’ or lull in the proceedings.
‘Animals’ was dedicated to “Fred the shred. Otherwise known as Fred the wee fucking shite.” By the time it came to play ‘New Born’ or would that be ‘Stockholm Syndrome’? the whole stage turned into a giant roulette wheel to help us decide. We got ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ much to the enjoyment of one of my best mates who I was at the show with.
As the show progressed the big hits sounded so damned good, ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, ‘Starlight’, ‘Time Is Running Out’, ‘Plug In Baby’ were all in attendance and as each started you were quickly reminded of the quality of songwriting.
The standout moment for me was ‘Madness‘. I love the song, I think it’s the best new song of recent times and to hear it played live to such perfection was such an immense pleasure. If there is a heaven and I am lucky enough to go there, when I arrive I’d like Muse to be playing ‘Madness’ on a stage. Then it truly would be heaven.
As I’ve said it is hard doing a review of a show that has such important visual elements incorporated without giving it away, but I will say that I hope these shows are being filmed and that those unlucky enough to miss the tour will at least get to see what all the fuss is about in some form or other.
Muse are being Muse and you either love or hate their music. I love their music and a live performance from Muse is a joy to behold. Even with dubstep!