Every once in a while a concert takes place that is billed as something quite special. When it was announced only a few weeks ago that Muse would headline a special one off event at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, there was a huge scramble for tickets that sold out in minutes. Some genius decided to stream the gig live for the world to see as it happened. At one point, 37,000 viewers were watching via the Internet.
To see Muse in a venue of this size is something special. I saw them on both the Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry tours at the Civic Hall and you just knew they were deemed for stadiums. Last night’s show didn’t quite hark back to those frivolous early performances, but was still exciting all the same.
Kicking off with ‘Supremacy‘, the band sounded huge and looked comfortable, albeit a bit scared of the intimacy. Matt Bellamy’s vocals were sublime and otherworldly, outshining on tracks like ‘Sunburn’, ‘Explorers’ and ‘Knights of Cydonia‘. The latter being the phenomenal live beast it should be, the playing was note perfect throughout the entire set. Highlight for many was the random request from someone on the front row and the band then playing ‘Deadstar’ for the first time since 2010.
Bassist Chris Walstenholme took lead vocals on ‘Save Me‘, which for me wobbled a little compared to the studio version but was still sublime. The newer material sounded much more raw live than I anticipated. ‘Panic Station‘, ‘Animals‘ and personal favourite ‘Follow Me‘ sat nicely alongside the classics of ‘Supermassive Black Hole‘ and ‘Uprising‘.
One thing lacking was the hint of dubstep that the new album has brought with the band. There was no ‘The 2nd Law: Unsustainable‘ which could have caused the Empire to explode with the guitar line kicking in. Another highlight was the contrasting and emotive ‘Madness‘, again Matt’s vocals really shone bright on this track.
From sitting at home watching the stream, even I could feel the elation in the room as ‘Plug In Baby‘ started, only to be followed by the incredible thump of intro bassline to ‘Time Is Running Out‘. It’s fair to say that everyone in the crowd at the concert would be quite ecstatic at the performance they were witness to.
A long pause and finally an encore began with ‘Starlight‘. The light show was dumbed down for such an intimate setting, but even on screen looked brilliant lighting up the Empire. Finishing on ‘Survival‘ left me cautious, as it is not the strongest of tracks in my opinion. Somehow tonight it seemed a lot stronger and a fitting end to a fantastic show. Matt Bellamy declared at one point that they should do a tour of this scale, I for one would applaud this based on the performance witnessed here, but I would hasten that the tickets would have to be sold fairly as demand would be incredible.