Live review: Muse + Birds of Tokyo – Brisbane Entertainment Centre – 10/12/13

Muse

You know those people who seem to be at every gig, the ones who wait until the head-liners have just come on stage before pushing their way through the crowd to get a good spot at the front, and pissing everyone off in the process? Yeah, those guys.

Those guys don’t exist at a Muse gig as far as I can tell, such is the desire for this audience to get into the dreaded arena of Brisbane Entertainment Centre early to get a good vantage point to absorb the spectacle that is the Devon trio’s live show. Making people more polite; that’s quite an achievement, even by Muse’s lofty standards. Winning hearts and minds even before the show starts; well played Sirs.

A result of this is that the arena is already almost full by the time Birds of Tokyo take to the stage, and despite seeming a little swamped by the size of the venue at times, the Perth band put out a strong set of songs, including ‘When The Night Falls Quiet’, ‘The Gap’, ‘This Fire’ and ‘Wild At Heart’.

As Muse‘s almost U2-sized inverted-pyramid lighting rig descends from the ceiling to form a bank of retina-melting screens, the band ready themselves behind to face their followers and an Iron Maiden-like voice-over and eerie piano hints at horrors unknown. In almost simultaneous explosions of light, sound, smoke, and collective audience orgasms, the darkly-dressed trio appear and launch into ‘Supremacy’ and hundreds of kids down the front appear to lose their minds in some sort of cult-like pact.

‘Supermassive Black Hole’ is next, followed by the funky ‘Panic Station’, allowing Christopher Wolstenholme to stylishly slap the wood of his illuminated bass fretboard. Front-man Matt Bellamy is a tiny ball of energy and beats his black boots across the stage and down the runway into the audience throughout, dandily strutting like a prog-rock Freddie Mercury and shredding like a hard-rock Brian May. It’s an undeniable fact that the light and laser show are a large part of the overall ‘wow’ factor of a Muse gig, and these elements are what most people end up talking about afterwards, but it’s nice to see it backed up with top drawer musicianship from the three band members, backed up by touring member Morgan Nicholls.

A short blast of AC/DC’s ‘Back To Black’ precedes ‘Knights of Cydonia’, the excellent ‘Feeling Good’ (Nina Simone can’t be beaten), and ‘Follow Me’, before Bellamy has the crowd aping his every move during ‘Undisclosed Desires’. He puts his right hand up; hundreds put their right hand up. He bellows skyward; hundreds bellow skyward. Things are getting biblical in Brisbane at this point in the evening, ladies and gentlemen.

Later numbers ‘Time Is Running Out’, ‘Plug In Baby’, and an encore of ‘Starlight’ and ‘Survival’ make the audience act in what can only be described in a manner approaching going totally ape-shit, and after one last blast of searingly painful lasers to the eyeballs, the band is gone and all that’s left is to rub our eyes better, tackle the gridlocked traffic surrounding the venue, and wonder just how in the world Muse will manage to top this performance next time they visit.

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