Coming into a new tour, with a meteoric live performing precedent to fall from, Muse have only sailed higher. Known as one of the best arena rock bands to ever grace the music scene, Muse arrived in Manchester Arena last night with their highly anticipated Drones tour, to show nothing at all has changed. Transforming the arena into a musical and visual extravaganza, there wasn’t a disillusioned eye in sight.
The stage set, the lights starting to dim, an arena full of 21,000 people became next to silent, in excited anticipation as to what spectacle was ahead of them. The first glimmer of Muse-esque showmanship was the blue radiating eyes of futuristic soldiers surrounding the centre stage, shortly followed by mesmerising large, but not overbearing, hovering orbs, which effortlessly floated about the audience, glowing in the darkness of the unlit stadium. This soft, but captivating visual effect eased itself perfectly into the starting song ‘Drones’ – a soft, eerie, choir like song, with a strong lyrical message including “Killed by drones, my mother, my father” which were scrolling above the emerging trio – setting the tone for the message Muse were trying to create – as always, a powerful one.
Just as the audience had got completely taken in by the soft essence of ‘Drones’, Muse let rip on the album’s greatly received ‘Psycho’, sending the crowd wild, and setting the tone for a powerhouse of an evening.
Muse managed to mix old and new music throughout, falling back onto old classics such as ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and ‘Starlight’ which had the whole arena on their feet going wild for the lead riffs of Matt Bellamy and the powerhouse bass of Chris Wolstenholme. The drumming talents of Dominic Howard, placed on a revolving centre stage, stormed through the arena, merging all three musicians perfectly together to show off that musical chemistry that has brought Muse from their first album Showbiz now through to Drones.
The awe inspiring music was only made more enrapturing by the lighting and visual spectacular throughout, which was clearly a pivotal part of the trio’s creation. During Drones track ‘The Handler’ – in which Bellamy expresses “You were my oppressor, and I have been programmed to obey” he and Wolstenholme stand in front of a projection of hands attached to puppet strings appearing to control them. This is just a snippet of the “drones” theme that consisted throughout the gig, with other such projections as multiple robots blankly walking line in line to the powerful lyrics “They will not control us, we will be victorious” of the classic ‘Uprising’, cumulating with a Robotic drone having and firing a gun.
Drawing ever closer to the end of the mind-blowing, stunning piece of musical and visual genius, the crowd were getting more and more on their feet; and further more anticipatory of how Muse would close their gig. Slowing the momentum down for one moment, a soft piece of music was played yet again, to another thought provoking projection of animated cities crumbling, and drones watching over blankly; this slow pace set the tone for the trio to slam down the bellowing Riff of ‘Knights Of Cydonia which got nearly every person on their feet, and closed the gig beautifully, with the added excitement of confetti and streaming machines covering the close audience.
It is always said that musicians should be enjoyed live, but in the case of Muse this could not be more emphatically true; the emotion you can feel from just listening to a Muse track cannot even begin to touch on the chills you will acquire watching this musical and visual stimulant in front of your bare eyes. The band left to a standing ovation.