WHEN you’ve had the label ‘best band in the world’ hung around your shoulders it could prove more albatross than accolade.
But a packed-to-the-rafters Manchester Arena certainly wouldn’t have disagreed with the readers of Q magazine after this spectacular two-hour display.
Visual it’s a stunning affair. What looked pre-concert like a rather dull, horsehoe-shaped stage burst into life as a massive inverted pyramid of video screens seemingly with a life of its own descended from the ceiling.
With a mixture of animation, live footage from the band’s own camera crew and lasers and lights it showed U2 how to use technology without going completely overboard.
But you can have the biggest toy box in the world but in the end it’s the music that counts.
Muse are a strange mix of prog rock, heavy metal, space-age psychedelia and electronica and clearly owe a debt to the likes of Gary Numan and Queen but pull all the strands together in a remarkably powerful fashion.
Diminuitve frontman Matt Bellamy is an enigmatic presence. Scurrying around stage, throwing rock guitar shapes he’s almost childlike in his enthusiasm rather like a youngster acting like one of his heroes. Although lacking real rock god charisma he still manages to be puppet master to the crowds at his feet. An arm raised leads to the entire arena following suit. One clap of the hands and the response is deafening in return.
There’s something almost geeky about his love for slightly overblown anthems.
But it’s perfect for reducing your local enormodrome to something more intimate.
Supermassive Black Hole, as featured in Twilight, was thrown into the set early on; Falling Down was a particular highlight as was the bombastic encore of Starlight and Knights of Cydonia.
As someone new to the whole Muse phenomena they certainly put on a spectacular live show. As for best band in the world? Not for me. Muse are certainly up there with the best but for all the tricks the show was a tad one-dimensional. However I think 20,000 fans in Manchester would vehemently disagree.