Muse bring mind-bending intergalactic arena tour to Birmingham - review with pictures
Devon rockers Muse are renowned worldwide for their mind-bending live performances, and last night the trio brought their monumental Simulation Theory tour to Arena Birmingham.
The group recently wowed stadiums across the UK with the impressive production, plunging thousands upon thousands of people into an intergalactic space opera for the ages.
And the excitement was palpable in the somewhat intimate King Edwards Road venue - compared to the venues Muse normally play that is - as crowds packed around the stage preparing to be beamed up.
But first, Essex alternative rockers Nothing But Thieves treated the already lively crowd to a rip-roaring set of fierce instrumentals and bellowing vocals.
Singer and guitarist Conor Mason wowed the audience with his powerful vocals through hit singles Trip Switch, Sorry and Amsterdam, demonstrating an impressive range and tone that he made look simply effortless.
Carried by experimental guitar riffs, winding bass lines and doom-laden drum rolls, Nothing But Thieves delivered a memorable performance that surely marked big things to come for the quintet.
Eighties-inspired music filled the packed arena in the run-up to Muse's two-hour-long set, with screams erupting around the room as the lights finally dimmed.
Surrounded by a brass section dressed in faceless, LED-covered attire, Muse vocalist Matt Bellamy appeared from the floor of a podium in the middle of the room with his microphone raised triumphantly.
Plunging straight into the crushing sounds of Algorithm, the band - completed by drummer Dominic Howard and bassist Chris Wolstenholme - wasted no time in getting the crowd whipped up into a frenzy with their perfect instrumentals and infectious showmanship.
Muse's musical wizardry knows no bounds, with Matt breezily coursing through mind-boggling technical guitar riffs that earned raucous applause from every audience member.
Dominic's ferocious percussion sections and Chris' rolling bass interludes brought the outfit together in seamless wonder that took the audience on an aural journey through the cosmos.
From new hits Pressure, Thought Contagion and The Dark Side through to classic smashes Plug In Baby, Starlight and Uprising, the rockers brought the crowd together in a grand spectacle of flailing bodies and defiant bellowing - it's hard not to feel a part of something special as you and thousands of others boom 'we will be victorious' in unison.
The entire room shook as the band stormed into Supermassive Black Hole, following a hair-raising performance of Dig Down that saw the audience illuminate the venue with their phone torches.
Anyone who has ever seen Muse knows that their live performances are the stuff of legend, and last night was no different with a production to rival all other live shows.
From cyber punk LED suits through to exploding confetti cannons, aerial acrobats, mechanical robot puppets, fantastical video graphics and a towering android looming over the stage, Muse created an immersive dystopic narrative in a world ruled by technology and trapped in a simulation that was gripping from start to finish.
The show culminated in a bulging mash-up of Stockholm Syndrome, Assassin, Reapers, The Handler and New Born with the dancing crowd bathed in a dazzling laser show.
But the room was in for one more treat. Chris stood under a solo spotlight in the middle of the room, performing the ominous Ennio Morricone's Man With A Harmonica. This atmospheric intro built into the anthemic sounds of Knights of Cydonia, as gigantic black and silver balloons dropped on the crowd in one final burst of raw energy.
There is no live band on earth quite like Muse. The band has mastered how to create the perfect live show filled with enthralling visuals and pristine sound that will see them go down in musical history.
After witnessing their Simulation Theory tour, I can't wait to see what these pioneers come up with next.