Make way for one of the best live bands of this generation. Muse are well-known for their lavish shows and elaborate performances, but can they captivate the Ricoh Arena and live up to the hype? Put it this way: The show made headlines before it had even begun.
Fans began to worry the night before the event when the reports came in that the Ricoh Arena was on fire, and rightly so. The photographs that had surfaced on Twitter were very convincing, and the internet began to buzz with talk of an insurance scam. When it was announced that the arena was not on fire and that it was simply a lighting and pyrotechnics test for the Muse concert, everyone breathed a sigh of relief before then having half a thought about how safe they were going to be at a show with that much fire.
The stage was opened by the indie-pop charm of Bastille, playing their recent hits such as ‘Flaws’ and ‘Pompeii’, getting the crowd singing along and warmed up for the main support act, Dizzee Rascal. Given his summer-party anthems and constant requests for the crowd to “make some fucking noise”, it seems Dizzee might’ve confused this football stadium in Coventry for a sunny beach in Ibiza. Lucky for him, a lot of the crowd seemed to have made this mistake too, or at least decided to play along.
After this, it was time for the main event. Muse took to the stage, and started the show with a bang. Literally. A huge fireball erupted from a platform in the middle of the crowd, and probably left a few people slightly singed. The trio opened with the wall of sound that is ‘Supremacy’ from their latest album The 2nd Law before launching straight into the crowd-favourite ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, swiftly winning back any fans that were unfamiliar with the newer material.
Although it was rather heavily geared towards their two most recent albums, the 26 song set had something for every Muse fan. They played the hits such as ‘Knights of Cydonia’, ‘Time Is Running Out’ and ‘Plug In Baby’, as well as some older favourites including ‘Bliss’ and ‘Sunburn’. There were definitely some songs that I felt were missing from the set (namely ‘Hysteria’, ‘Butterflies and Hurricanes’ and ‘Thoughts of a Dying Athiest’), but with such an extensive back catalogue, you can’t please everyone. By ending the show on a beautiful rendition of ‘Starlight’, all was forgiven.
While the music was incredible, it was the overall spectacle of the event that stole the show. It had fire, confetti that looked like money, trapeze artists, a giant dubstep robot, animations of dancing politicians… And did I mention fire? The whole performance seemed to follow a vague storyline depicting the deaths of a wealthy businessman who suffers a heart attack and an overworked secretary who drinks petrol, with singer Matt Bellamy venturing underneath the stage to see them in their coffins towards the end of the show.
As they grow closer to their 20th year as a band, it’s clear to see how Muse have earned themselves the title of one of the best live acts in the world today. While their music is phenomenal in its own right, the live renditions accompanied by stunning visuals and theatrical performances give the songs new life. This is how these songs were born to be heard.
Photos by Dan Hess