Better out than in, but still in a different world
There's a reason why the Muse mantelpiece is overflowing with awards for their live shows...they're bloody good that's why!
Muse brought their touring galactic circus to Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena on November 19, as they continue to promote one of the best album's of 2006 if not this whole decade. However this was far from a gig simply focusing on 'Black Holes and Revelations', with just over half the record being played and a collection of the band's greatest hits spread across the set.
When Muse headlined the Leeds Festival in August they swapped their new album's opening and closing tracks around for the live show. This current tour however has 'Take A bow' first and new single 'Knights of sidonia' as an epic finale. In between the Newcastle fans were treated to the classic hit singles 'Hysteria', 'New Born', 'Butterflies and Hurricanes', 'Plug in baby' and 'Time is running out'. As somebody who's never been taken with their cover of 'Feeling Good' i wasn't disappointed by it's absence from the setlist although I know some people were: we're getting onto that 'can't please everyone all the time' thing now...
'Starlight' and 'Super Massive Black Hole' were naturally highpoints, and both featured notable backdrops on the giant video screens. During 'Starlight' the deep space theme was very much a focal point, and for 'Super Massive' the much talked about marching robots made their appearance.
Of the album tracks stand out moments were 'Invincible' and 'Map of the Problematique', the latter is the ultimate definition of epic expansive rock. Also next time you listen to the intro see if you agree with the idea of it working as the title music for TV shows like 'Crime Watch' or '999' (assuming the latter still exists). I feel sporting montages beckon for it too.
The band played two encores, with the centrepiece of the first being 'Bliss' with hundreds of white balloons being released into the crowd. 'Knights Of Cydonia', which is released as a single at the end of the month brought the night to a storming close.
This was the first time I'd seen Muse indoors, and aside from the guarantee of not being drenched like at Leeds in the summer, for me Muse get better the bigger the show and frankly are better outside than in.
The ambitious stage set which saw drummer Dominic Howard playing under a giant space dome shows the band have it in them to put on a spectacular visual extravaganza which would see them look completely at home in stadiums across the world. They're also one of a select few who have the power behind their music that means they could put on a tour the size of U2 and not leave fans at the back short changed. If there's any justice Muse will one day be filling Madison Square Gardens, the San Siro, Wembley Stadium...granted that one still needs to be built but you take my point.
Anyway back at the Newcastle Arena on a freezing Sunday night, for those at their first Muse gig this would surely have been a highlight of their gig going lives and will live long in the memory. For those of us clocking up our Muse live loyalty points this wasn't their greatest gig of the year, but it certainly eclipses most other band's defining moments on the 2006 tour trail.