Muse @The O2, 03/04/2016

On Sunday night Muse don’t just put on a pretty rocking show at The O2, they also broke a record at North Greenwhich’s Millennium Dome. The sold-out show is the biggest The O2 has ever seen. Yes the venue had been sold out before, but usually the stage will be sat in front of an extra couple of seats. Muse’s stage was centered in the venue allowing for more seats and standing space to be available. What’s even better, this set-up also allowed for even the worst seats to have a great view.

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Let’s start off with the support though: Nothing But Thieves. One of the best new bands of 2016, their debut album was released in October last year and managed to get into the UK top 10. The five-piece from Southend-On-Sea formed in 2012 and only a few short years later are supporting one of Britain’s biggest rock bands in huge arenas like The O2. Just a few night’s earlier the boys played London’s Forum to roughly 2,300 people, and now you can add a 0 to that count. They kick off their set with hit-single Itch and one thing becomes blatantly obvious: these lads were meant to play stages like this one, and not just this – they own it like they’ve never done anything else. NBT shoot 6 songs off their debut album into the South London arena and are greeted with cheering all around. Well done, guys, well done.

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It’s the second night of the tour and the first of five nights of Muse’s Drones UK tour. With their massive production and films about modern warfare they enter U2 status. It’s undeniable that Muse, like U2 are one of the biggest rock bands to grace our planet, whether you like them or not. Political statements in an arena as big as the O2 can be dangerous, as your audience isn’t all die-hard fans and your message might get lost. And in this case, while the production and the inflatable drone are beyond spectacular, the general message gets lost in translation. Proven by Bruce Springsteen just this week, using music to make a statement can work. But making statements on stage will only reach your hardcore fan base who already know where you stand on the world’s issues. However, we won’t fault Muse for trying to send a message, because even if we’re not thinking about the un-personal warfare of our countries, we are most certainly very impressed with the proceedings inside the dome.

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You’d think for a band who’s done it all, all the arenas, all the festivals, all the records – there’s not much left to prove. Yet, the three lads from the Westcountry constantly reinvent themselves. There are also mini drones, eight to be exact, floating around the 360 degree stage.  Ahead of their set at this year’s Glastonbury the huge arena tour only ups the hype surrounding Muse even more.  The gig is guitar-heavy and filled with guitar riffs that won’t leave your mind for days. Their 2006 song Supermassive Black Hole from the album Black Holes  and Revelations starts with the legendary riffs to Jimi Hendrix’ Voodoo Child, once again guitar-awesomeness ensues. A cover of Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley’s Feeling Good also echoes through the halls of the O2 arena.

The show finishes off with beautiful mini rock opera Globalist along a haunting back drop of a dystopian landscape. There’s of course an encore. Take A Bow, Mercy and Knights of Cydonia (which is given a Ennio Morricone Man With The Harmonica intro treatment) remind us that no matter how you feel about Muse, they are icons of rock and definitely something you should see once in your life.

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