Muse At 3Arena, Dublin – Photos & Review
Stadium behemoths Muse have always made their fondness of change apparent, winning new fans and dividing others in the process. Their 2012 offering, The Second Law marked a transition from the classic guitar space pop sound to a more electronic, symphonic and even dubstep infused album. Hailed as the death of Muse by many, 2015 marked an impressive return to form with the guitar driven Drones. Now, they bring their monster live show to Dublin’s 3Arena.
An acapella version of ‘Drones’ bellows powerfully from the speakers of the 360 stage setup, while enormous white electronic baubles hover around the arena. The band appear seemingly out of nowhere and blaze into newer single ‘Psycho’. The fuzz driven guitar of Matt Bellamy sets the place alight, and quickly has the crowd on its feet. ‘Reapers’ continues to wow the crowd with its insane tapped guitar refrain and pitch perfect vocals from Bellamy. Not stopping for a second between tunes, the classic ‘Bliss’ takes things up a peg or two, with all singing the powerful chorus back at the band.
It quickly becomes apparent that this is possibly the most well choreographed show in rock music. Bellamy and Wolstenholme are constantly disappearing up and down their custom stage for gear changes, all while preludes and visuals dazzle the audience. More of the classics come now, with the indie anthem ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and the singalong wonder ‘Starlight’. Bellamy loses the guitar in the latter to evoke singing from the crowd, with awesome results. 20,000 people sing the refrain of ‘I just wanted to hold you in my arms’, which undeniably makes for a powerful moment.
While the band’s stage show is mind bogglingly amazing, the guys themselves do little to no talking with the crowd. Normally this would take away from the experience, but it almost feels like we’re watching a film, and these three men are giving the performance of their lives. A particularly noisy version of ‘Citizen Erased’ and a very synth driven ‘Madness’ are followed up by more stunning visuals, this time with images of war and destruction accompanied by footage of a JFK speech. The political commentary on this album is quite apparent, and translates remarkably in this live setting. ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Our Time Is Running Out’ make for more singalong classics, with all in attendance baffled by the skills of Wolstenholme on the former.
Ten minute epic, ‘The Globalist’ has possibly the finest visuals of the night, with their own drone machine flying around the stage for a few minutes. Having now done a solid twenty song set or so, the boys wrap it up with ‘Mercy’ and a spectacular finale of ‘Knights Of Cydonia’. The instantly recognisable harmonica intro pushes the crowd to frenzy. Virtuosity on the guitar from Bellamy is what we get, and spot on vocal harmonies are a spectacle to behold. The irresistible main riff extends to the outro, and leaves everyone yearning for more.
Regardless of your opinions of Muse as a whole at the moment, it’s just impossible to deny the grandeur of their performance. Their back catalogue is phenomenal, their tightness is impeccable and their live show is jaw dropping. Frankly, tonight was flawless. This is how stadium bands should be.
Review by Finn O’Reilly
Photos by Tudor Marian