Having already played stadiums for the release of their ninth album Will Of The People, Muse brought their one of a kind live show to a slightly smaller crowd with two nights at London’s O2 Arena.
The band, which comprises of drummer, Dominic Howard, Bassist, Chris Wolstenholm and frontman/lead guitarist Matt Bellamy, are easily one of the UK’s biggest rock bands working today and have built a reputation of spectacle and dramatism, so expectations are high, not only for their live performance, but for their production value and design.
Opening the night for the living rock legends are Nova Twins. The feisty duo found success within the alternative scene with their debut album Who Are The Girls?
Whilst their sophomore record, 2022’s Supernova launched the pair into more mainstream territory, garnering both BRIT and Mercury prize nominations. Seeing these girls go from strength to strength in their careers is a great thing to witness and Muse couldn’t pick a better support band if they tried.
As stated earlier, Muse are renowned for their spellbinding live shows and they made good on that expectation from the very beginning. Opening their 23 song set with title track “Will of the People”, the trio play their song of rebellion adorned in black hoods and chrome masks which are rather reminiscent of Sleep Token.
Not only that, but a flaming center piece hangs above the stage, its flames spelling the initials of the track as each word is sung. Muse are known more for their operatic rock akin to Queen, however this opening, as well as their track “Won’t Back Down”, which was played 5 songs later, gives this live show a heavier and slightly metal vibe that fits perfectly with bands core themes of resistance and rebellion.
The stage and overall production design was expectedly fantastic as Muse told a narrative between songs with shot animated sequences which displayed chrome masked rebels fighting devil horned tyrants in a sci-fi apocalypse.
The animated characters would then be brought to life in giant centerpiece form, firstly the chrome faced rebel would tower over Muse, their face oscillating from left to right, then lastly the devil horned tyrant would stand tall over the O2 during the encore. These designs were so big even, they both had hands sticking out from the stage’s sides. Muse are known for sparing no expense and these towering behemoth’s proved this show was no exception.
In terms of Muse’s 23 song setlist the band managed to perfectly balance a healthy amount of new and older material. Equally playing the most songs off their newest record Will of the People and 2003’s Absolution, Muse simultaneously plugged their newest record and celebrated 20 years of their landmark record.
Every album except their debut Showbiz is played from with hits like “Hysteria” and “Psycho” played early, whilst “Time Is Running Out” and “Madness” were played around midway through.
After expertly sandwiching new and old songs, Muse close out with back to back hits “Uprising” and “Starlight”, whilst their encore closes the night on their staple set ender, “Knights Of Cydonia”. Captivating an entire arena with just a harmonica truly cements Muse’s status as living legends.
Overall, Muse continued to effortlessly demonstrate why they are one of the UK’s biggest and best live artists working today. With outstanding production value, a flair for the dramatics and expertly balanced setlist, Muse didn’t put a foot wrong or leave a hair out of place. When it comes to live music and production values, you simply can’t do better than Muse.
Photography by Martina Antonia Liberini + Words by Dan Harden