As we sit here writing our review, people around us call across the tent; ‘did you not see it? Fucking Muse, man!’ And we can understand why they’re trying to wrap their heads around anyone missing the opportunity to witness one of the best live rock shows on the planet as the final headline act for Reading 2017. 30 minutes later and we’re still overwhelmed with the magnitude of the show, from the performance of band members Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard, the intricacy of the staging, and if you haven’t heard the news already, the special guest performance – AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. 2 rock Gods on one stage? No wonder we’re still feeling the adrenaline rush!
Muse have headlined Reading and Leeds festival three times to count (performing 5 times in total), with the last seeing them perform their classic album ‘Origins of Symmetry’ in full in 2011. Tonight’s performance mixed songs from across the years, starting with ‘Dig Down’, a one off single rather than a cut from upcoming album ‘Drones’, quickly moving through the setlist and into one of their classics (and our very favourite) ‘Plug In Baby’. (Did we lose our minds and elbow a small child in the face in excitement? Damn right we did.)
Throughout the two hour show Bellamy pierced the night with his outstanding vocals (that man can SING) and shredded guitar solos, kicking over his amp and throwing his guitar across the stage. Every song seemed to have a new set change/instrument revamp/magic surprise but never did this dull the excitement from the crowd. With band members Wolstenholme and Howard filling any changeovers with well-rehearsed musical interludes, tonight’s show was entirely a band performance rather than a one man show. Which says a great deal about their individual chops when playing alongside Bellamy as he gyrated across the stage and made his way into the crowd to shake hands and take selfies with his fans – all mid-song, never missing a beat.
And can we take a moment to talk about the giant balloons, clouds of pink confetti and streamers that burst their way into the audience at random interludes? They added a touch of the ‘fantastical’ to the night, stepping this show up from every other that has come before it. And this was BEFORE Brian Johnson entered the stage to perform AC/DC’s ‘Back To Black’ with the band. Thecollected crowd roared and sang along as Johnson gave a performance to end the night of all nights – who else can tell this story to their grandchildren one day?
We’d stood and waited for over an hour to witness Muse live, expecting an excellent show filled with great music. But it was so much more than that! As distorted notes and chest-thumping bass riffs continue to fill our soul from final performance ‘Knights Of Cydonia’, as our ears bleed from the volume and impact of each song and as we look at each other in wonder and talk long into the night about tonight’s headline act, we realise: it might be the end of the night, it might be the end of the weekend and we may have reached the close of Reading Festival, but Muse have given us a night that will last us a lifetime.
5)Plug In Baby
7)The 2nd Law: Isolated System
9)Supermassive Black Hole
15)Time Is Running Out
16)Take A Bow
17)Back In Black ft. Brian Johnson
19)Knights of Cydonia
Reviewed by Becca Walker