Are these the priests God didnít pay?
Having stormed Glastonbury, the Virgin Fest and countless other European festivals, Muse have truly come into their own in 2004. Where many bands would have faltered, they continued to provide the music industry with ample opportunity to discuss the stars, jet packs, mad scientist jackets and all those other typical Muse comments. It seems though, that no one ever comments on what effect Muse have on the real world. Their music may bring to mind visions of space and all things futuristic, but there is also a large amount of true, undiluted human emotion packed into their songs and this is clearly visible on the second night of their Earls Court dates. As Matt runs around the photographers' pit armed with a monkey handpuppet and a large camera, you realise that Muse donít take themselves half as seriously as the media do. Somehow thereís the atmosphere of a party hanging over the venue tonight. This is Muse throwing a lavish party to celebrate their achievements. Whereas Glastonbury was the joining of Muse with their fate as one of the most inspirational UK rock bands, this is the wedding reception afterwards- not as glamourous and certainly not as polished, but certainly more fun. Even before Muse arrive on stage, the fans assembled below are happy to sing along to Vertigo whilst the seated indulge in a few Mexican waves.
As soon as the powerful waves of 'Apocalypse Please' begin, the crowd explodes into sound. There is something so passionate about the adoration the fans show for these three men. There is something about those deep words performed by that high pitched voice that commands you to get down on your knees and worship. There is something about Muse that is so indescribably different that it is impossible to do anything but tumble head over heels in love with them. Fuck space, Earls Court, London is where the party is tonight.
After 'Apocalypse Please', Muse tear through the more upbeat material on their Absolution album- 'Hysteria' and 'The Small Print' before slowing down for the hauntingly fragile 'Sing For Absolution'. In any other band, a song as slow as this could lead to a painful death so soon in a set, but Muse pull it off with their vibrant live rendition before taking things a fair few notches higher with 'Micro Cuts'. Perhaps it is a testament to the talent this man holds, but even whilst screeching like a cat, Matt Bellamy still retains every scrap of his dignity and respect from his audience. Charismatic fails to describe this youthful, talented individual.
Live highlight 'Citizen Erased' is everything it always is and far more. After such a loud onslaught, the final outro appears even more delicate than ever. There are more than a few tears to be seen as Matt mournfully sings into his microphone with his fingers dancing over the piano before treating Earls Court to a chilling piano interlude which slowly breaks into 'Space Dementia'. Having never found it a strong song on record, it always surprises me just how powerful those expansive, tingling piano notes are when they flow over a large crowd such as that found here tonight.
After some more self indulgent piano twiddling that only Matt Bellamy could get away with, Muse decide to pull out their ace. As soon as those piano notes form the opening bar of 'Sunburn', the crowd erupts into a joyous display of affection. Whilst their latest album offers a more futuristic approach to the human race, their material from 1999's Showbiz is the stuff that emotions are made of. It might not be the best song ever written, but it certainly has a lot going for it. From here until the end of the set, Muse play their very best work- 'New Born', 'Bliss', the touching 'Butterflies and Hurricanes', and finally ending on the orgasmic 'Plug In Baby'. This is the kind of set that thousands of bands dream of whilst knowing that only a few have this much control over their audience. When Matt Bellamy asks the crowd to lift up their mobile phones during 'Blackout', the result is not something you'd find on the delicatessen in Sainsbury's, but is in fact, an eerie, hauntingly beautiful moment that is bound to stay in the minds of those who witnessed this very special end of year party.