What do you do when your favourite band is touring Australia but is not bringing the show to Adelaide? Well of course you have a whinge, you look at the budget, submit your annual leave forms, and decide whether you’ll have a Sydney experience or pop by for a Melbourne quickie.
But given it is so close to Christmas we can forgive Matt, Chris, and Dom from Muse for not doing the full Australian rounds this time. Choosing Australia for their 2017 grand finale show, Muse have delighted fans to 33 shows around the world this year including the United States, Japan, Britain, and Canada.
Muse are not an ordinary rock band. Their epic, stadium sound demands an investment and a loyalty from the listener. For instance, their latest album Drones imagines a world that has succumb to the mechanisation of humanity and how, in this world, artificial intelligence has degraded human thinking. Yep, heavy. So even though I’m not so fond of dichotomies I’m going to assume you are either into Muse as a fanatic or not. I will disclose that I am closer to fanatical when it comes to Muse so this review of their Melbourne show on 18 December 2017 at Rod Laver Arena is one-hundred percent bias.
There is always a restless anticipation before a Muse show, especially if you have seen them before. Most of their studio produced albums are elaborate and theatrical with contrasting moments of intimacy that gradually build into a symphonic cacophony. Amazingly, Muse were able to trump their studio sound at their second and final Australian show of 2017 at the Rod Laver Arena which was bursting with almost 16,000 devoted Musers.
Muse opened their eighteen-song set with their newest single ‘Dig Down’ which has a sparse, synthetic, electronica style that is quite removed from their typical dystopian progressive rock sound. This suitably warmed their adoring crowd who for the next hour and a half were showered with quintessential Muse songs from six of their seven albums (see the full set list at the end of this article).
Muse have some extraordinary elements that make them an arena spectacular. For much of the evening Matt Bellamy’s angelic falsetto and brooding vocal pierced the room in a flawless performance. Bellamy has perfected the balance between the ultimate guitar hero and distinguished Euterpean idol. Bassist Chris Wolstenholme is equally as talented providing not only the grinding depth of force behind much of their sound but treating us to a fabulous harmonica solo in Knights Of Cydonia. And winning the hardest working Muse man of the evening was drummer Dominic Howard who vigorously pounded and pulsed the entire evening with unfettering precision.
The brilliance of this show also resides in the stage design that is visually mesmerising. Accompanying the music was a hypnotic display of colourful digitalised shapes and images projected by eleven digital screens backdropped behind the band. Laser lights explode at climatic moments onto the audience assaulting the senses and enhancing the peaking sonic crescendos that most Muse fans are accustomed to. For a taste of their show see this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GoqvKficoE
If you didn’t get to see them this time around they have promised to return to Australia with more shows in the future. Fingers crossed they book a gig in Adelaide next tour because our music venues (and audiences) are sublime!
Muse 2017 Australian Tour set list:
1. Dig Down (album unnamed)
2. Psycho (Drones)
3. Hysteria (Absolution)
4. Plug in Baby (Origin of Symmetry)
5. The 2nd Law: Isolated System (The 2nd Law)
6. The Handler (Drones)
7. Supermassive Black Hole (Black Holes and Revelations)
8. Take A Bow (Black Hole and Revelations)
9. A New Kind Of Kick (cover: The Cramps)
10. Madness (The 2nd Law)
11. Stockholm Syndrome (Absolution)
12. Munich Jam (drum/bass solo)
13. Starlight (Black Holes and Revelations)
14. Time Is Running Out (Absolution)
15. Mercy (Drones)
16. The Globalist (Drones)
17. Uprising (The Resistance)
18. Knights Of Cydonia (Black Holes and Revelations)