Muse gig, Luxembourg (26 May 2007)

Some time ago, a friend of mine lent me the first Muse album, Showbiz. I listened a couple of times and liked it, thinking that it reminded me of Jeff Buckley. For some reason, I never followed up and remained oblivious to the rest of Muse’s albums.

Then I heard that they were playing in Luxembourg, but I still wasn’t that bothered. The girl that loaned me the first CD asked me at work if I had ripped that CD to my iTunes at work, which I had, so I stuck it on and was bopping away and thought to myself, why not go and see them? The gig is only about 15 minutes away from my house, so why the hell not?

That was when I discovered that it was sold out.

I borrowed and listened to the other three albums from someone else at work and really started to want to go and see them. So ensued a long search on eBay for tickets. To my dismay, they were going for silly amounts of money, up to double the face value. Thankfully, Lorraine is rather clever at finding stuff on eBay and she found a pair of tickets on Being a Brit, I normally search on and click the box for European Union. But the seller in France had agreed to ship only in France, which meant that they didn’t show up on eBay UK or Long story short, I got the tickets for face value and the seller was only 12 kms from my house so I went that night and picked them up from her house.

Then commenced a week-long research period of listening to all four Muse albums. The more I listened, the more excited I became. I have not been so pumped about a band for many a year. I listened at work with headphones on, I listened in the car, I listened in the kitchen, I listened when sat working at my PC at home. I loaded up the Muse website and began reading lyrics along to the songs and watching the videos. I read reviews of the US concerts. I read Wikipedia articles and even wrote notes as I was listening to list the influences I could discern. In short, I became a fan in that short week.

Then came the night of the concert. I went with a girl from work and she also had spent the week researching! We got soaked on the way in from the car park; the rain was coming down in sheets.

Montevideo were the support band. The were pretty good, even closing with a cover of London Calling. I was surprised when they started speaking French and said they were from Brussels. The lead singer sounded as English as toasted tea-cakes. They did a half-hour set and were gone.

The Rockhal is rather a good venue. I read on a blog that it has a capacity of 5,400, but the Rockhal site says up to 6500. Either way, it ain’t Wembley! It reminded me very much of the Glasgow Barrowlands, with which I am rather familiar. In fact the whole gig had a Barrowlands feel to it. The crowd was pretty damn good, which was a very pleasant surprise as I’ve been to a lot of concerts in Luxembourg and find the crowd usually to be rather dull and inhibited. Not so this time.

Muse came on about 8.40 and they rocked.

The research had paid off in spades.It’s hard to pick a highlight as the whole gig was a highlight. I had found the setlist from the US leg of the tour and so had been listening to that a lot on iTunes as a playlist. I didn’t really expect them to have the same setlist for Europe, and indeed they didn’t.

Set List

I had expected them to open with Take a Bow and finish with Knights of Cydonia. They did the reverse. Cool. Starlight rocked; Feelin’ Good sounded a lot better live than I would have expected; Stockholm Syndrome flat out rocked the house; New Born was superb. And a really pleasant surprise for me was Unintended to start the encore. I can really relate to that song and plan on learning to play it just as soon as I get off the computer. And the juxtaposition of Unintended and Plug in Baby was great, aided by the big balloons that came down during Plug in Baby.

The only downside was that I found it pretty short. They played for only 1h45m minutes. Although to be fair there was minimal banter between songs and they played 17 tracks in all. I just didn’t want it to stop.

Matt Bellamy

It was interesting to be at a raucous gig like that now that I’m in my mid-30s. I used to go to gigs like that in my late teens and 20s and would be pogo-ing throughout with my long hair bouncing around. I did do some pogo-ing at the Muse gig, but I was done in after a couple of songs and I have now have my hair cropped really short. It felt strangely odd pogo-ing with no hair! And now the mobile phone crowd are all busy holding up their phones taking video and photos. And I’m hardly home an hour before someone has posted the set list and a review on the Internet. Cool.

It reminded me a bit of some of the gigs I used to go to in the Grebo era. Bands like the Wonderstuff and Pop Will Eat Itself seemed to craft their songs in a such a way so as deliberately to make people pogo up and down, going from slow, building up and up and then BOOM – you break into the good stuff and are pogo-ing up and down without having intended to.

And a message to the DRM police — I ripped all four CDs from someone else to get to know Muse*. Then I paid 40 euros for a ticket, 25 euros for a T-shirt and will be first in line when the next CD is released or they tour again near me. Surely that must say something about your pointless and unwinnable war against copyright theft.

*I’ve since ordered them all on Amazon

Amazon Order