Muse review – sublimely ridiculous rock’n’roll camp


Halfway through Muse’s set, probably the daftest thing that Groupama Stadium has ever seen happens. Frontman Matt Bellamy is wearing shimmering silver while perched at a light-up piano and playing booming horror cliche Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach. Then his band break into You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween, replete with a three-storey-tall masked, hooded face behind them, the video screen inside it alternating between Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and other scary movie villains. It’s the most high-budget display of rock’n’roll camp – yet the night will get madder from here.

Outside this near-60,000 crowd, Muse aren’t necessarily the coolest band in the world any more. It was as early as 2007 that the Devon trio ascended to this grandiose level: after megahits from Supermassive Black Hole to Starlight meshed pop-rock drama with calls for revolution just vague enough that both the left and right could rally behind them, they became the first band to sell out the new Wembley Stadium. Since then though, hit-and-miss albums such as last year’s Will of the People have dented what was previously a bulletproof reputation for top-notch anthem-making.

Fortunately, from 2007 to 2023, one thing remains consistent: Muse gigs revel in the sublimely ridiculous. Following You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween’s spooky pomp, Bellamy introduces Uprising by playing its synth melody on a Nintendo Power Glove attached to a suit coated in LEDs. We Are Fucking Fucked has its juvenile title complemented by the kind of production a 10-year-old on a sugar rush would mastermind: fire spews from the stage so frequently that it would overstimulate a pyromaniac. Then, finally, the encore of Kill Or Be Killed and Knights of Cydonia is backed by a blow-up bust of Satan so massive that its arms extend beyond the stadium stage.

Sixteen years deep into filling football fields, Muse understand the assignment more than almost every other rock band. More is more and, even after feeding Lyon two hours of overblown theatre, they achieve the meteoric feat of making a 25-song extravaganza feel too short.

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